Organisers of the Tour de France have been forced to cut out more than half of the final mountain stage of the race, shortening stage 20 from 130 to just 59 kilometres after storms caused landslides along the route.
Stage 19 was halted at the top of the Col de l’Iseran while Team Ineos’ Egan Bernal was on the attack, and times taken at the summit. Bernal leads the race by 48 seconds over Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep), with teammate Geraint Thomas in third at 1:16.
The penultimate stage will begin in Albertville at 14:30CET with a route less than half the original distance. It will still finish atop Val Thorens, a 33.5km ascent averaging 5.5 per cent that climbs to 2365m in altitude.
The race will travel on N90 from Albertville to Moutiers where it will rejoin the original route at the N90 – D915 roundabout, 36km from the finish.
While short, the stage is not without precedent. Last year’s stage 17 to Saint-Lary-Soulan was only 65km in length and won by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) with a solo attack.
The abbreviation not only shortens the action for the overall contenders, it also cuts out two climbs, the Cormet Roselend (Cat .1) and Cote du Longefoy (Cat. 2). Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) leads the mountains classification with 86 points ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) with 74. 40 points will be available on the final climb.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com
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