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Tour de France 2019: Egan Bernal Takes Yellow Jersey After Stage 19 Neutralised

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2019

Colombia's Egan Bernal (R), wearing the best young's white jersey launches an attack followed by Great Britain's Simon Yates in a breakaway during the nineteenth stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Tignes, in Tignes, on July 26, 2019. (Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Team Ineos' Egan Bernal is the new holder of the yellow jersey at the 2019 Tour de France after he won a dramatic Stage 19 that was neutralised before the scheduled finish.

Hail stones and a landslide further down the course meant the organisers stopped the race, with the respective times of each rider taken from the top of the Col de l'Iseran.

Bernal's attack on the climb meant he had moved into the virtual lead of the general classification, meaning he takes over from Julian Alaphilippe in the maillot jaune.

Ineos' Twitter account shared a photo of the landslide that stopped the stage:

Team INEOS @TeamINEOS

Impossible conditions in the final part of the stage. The riders have stopped at Val d'Isère and will now head to the finish by car #TDF2019 https://t.co/eynnwZIDzG

Cycling journalist Michael Hutchinson shared the provisional overall standings: 

Michael Hutchinson @Doctor_Hutch

The @ProCyclingStats virtual GC as the stage was abandoned. #tdf2019 https://t.co/Lt1wGDOLfE

The day's big news appeared to be the withdrawal of Thibaut Pinot. The Frenchman had been expected to fare well in the Alps due to his excellent climbing ability, although he dropped off the pace early in the stage to receive treatment.

While he did his utmost to continue the race, Pinot was unable to carry on. It was clear just how disappointed he was at his withdrawal:

Tour de France™ @LeTour

😢 It’s over for Thibaut Pinot who suffers too much. Extremely sad. 😢 C’est fini pour @ThibautPinot qui souffre trop pour continuer. Un moment très difficile pour lui et son équipe. #TDF2019 https://t.co/qr7Bab0iPk

The fact he pulled out would have given hope to the other contenders, though, and Alaphilippe was always set to come under pressure on the climb to the summit of the l'Iseran.

Having shone on Thursday on the climb to the Galibier, Bernal is clearly the man most in form when it comes to the climbs, and an attack from the Colombian felt inevitable.

When he did make a move, it was only Simon Yates who was able to stay with him. It gave Bernal the chance to form a sizeable gap to the general classification favourites, and after starting two minutes down on Alaphilippe heading into the stage, he was quickly eating up the Frenchman's advantage.

Per cycling journalist Neal Rogers, the 22-year-old was able to leave some of the best mountain men in the sport behind with his acceleration: 

Neal Rogers @nealrogers

Bernal looks fantastic, rode away from Nibali, Uran, and Yates, opened up a gap of 55sec on De Plus, Kruijswijk, Thomas, Buchmann, Landa et al at the summit. Alaphilippe is on his own, almost 2min behind. Bernal into virtual maillot jaune by 30+sec. #TDF2019

Alaphilippe was isolated at this point, and as Bernal extended his advantage to the Frenchman to more than two minutes, his hopes of ending the day in yellow were all but over.

Alaphilippe would have at least been hopeful of making up some ground on the descent, as he did on Thursday after the Galibier. However, reports started to filter through that there was inclement weather on the way down from l'Iseran.

Hail could be seen on television pictures, as could sections of the road covered in a landslide.

Commentator Joscelin Ryan shared a photo of the impossible conditions for the riders: 

joscelinryan @joscelinryan

Race stopped landslide #TDF2019 https://t.co/uCA1o8aOS6

Unsurprisingly, the stage was abandoned, and the organisers set the previous summit as the virtual finish. For Alaphilippe, it was an unfortunate ruling on a day of disappointment, while Bernal and Thomas, who attacked late on the l'Iseran, were able to make significant progress.

More thrills are expected on Stage 20, when the peloton will ride the 130 kilometres from Albertville to Val Thorens. The stage culminates in a summit finish on an unclassified climb.

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