Tour de France 2019: Vincenzo Nibali Wins Stage 20, Egan Bernal Secures GC Lead

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2019

Colombian fans cheer prior to the twentieth stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Albertville and Val Thorens, in Val Thorens, on July 27, 2019. (Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Vincenzo Nibali won Saturday's abbreviated Stage 20 of the 2019 Tour de France, finishing solo in Val Thorens, while Egan Bernal defended his lead in the general classification. Barring a crash on Sunday, he will win this year's race.

Poor weather conditions saw the stage shortened to just under 60 kilometres, and Nibali was part of the early break. He then attacked and conquered the final parts of the climb on his own.

In the chasing group, Bernal was never threatened. Team INEOS will secure the double on Friday, as Geraint Thomas sits in second place in the general classification. Steven Kruijswijk is third.

There were some concerns the shortened stage could be altered further or cancelled altogether before the start, as the conditions at the finish line were horrendous:

The peloton eventually set off on the planned course, however, with a short run-in until the full climb to Val Thorens. With just under 60 kilometres on the schedule, the stage was expected to be an explosive and dramatic one.

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Nibali was part of an early attack, and they found a gap, even though INEOS had little interest in giving the breakaway riders too much real estate. Jumbo-Visma kept the pace high once the road ramped up, thinning out the peloton and reeling in much of the breakaway.

Julian Alaphilippe, the race leader until yesterday, was dropped before the final 10 kilometres, losing his podium spot in heartbreaking fashion.

At the front, Nibali went solo, exploding the break with a devastating attack. Simon Yates placed his attack in the chasing group, with hopes he could still win the mountain classification.

But the expected fireworks in the final kilometres never arrived, as the top contenders all appeared to lack the power in the legs for a final explosion. Thomas and Bernal easily survived, shaking hands as they crossed the finish line.

Romain Bardet secured the polka-dot jersey, winning the mountain classification. 

The Tour will finish on Sunday on the streets of Paris. A traditional bunch sprint on the Champs-Elysees is expected and shouldn't throw up any surprises for the general classification.  

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