TdF 19: Attack(s)!

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Tour de force today on the Tour de France: from the start Col du Chaussy (1533m, 1st cat, 15.4km, avg 6.3%) and from the gun attacks fly. Team Sky controls, easily so far, while riders are dropped already on the first slopes. 
Embedded image permalink26 riders gets a gap, in the rain storm. They are: Kruijswijk Rodriguez Sicard Plaza Peraud Losada Herrada Westra Edet Van Baarle lead. Talansky, Rolland, Gautier, Scarponi, Uran.
Alberto Contador attacks. Alejandro Valverde jumps on his wheel. Geraint Thomas bridges and the move is neutralised. Once again Valverde made the stopper for Froome.
Embedded image permalinkBarguil attacks, Gesink and Mollema follows. Valverde joins and Nibali goes on conter and joins the break where is team mate Scarponi. Contador attacks again, Valverde follows. They join too but keep the back.
Only Poels and Thomas alre left with Froome. Already. But the gap is slight.
Embedded image permalinkNibali attacks again. Thomas gets dropped and just Poels remains with Froome. Sky captain has caught the Contador's group but Nibali is still ahead with Kruijswijk and Rodriguez, who wins the KOM.
Embedded image permalinkDescent: Kruijswijk takes it in front. Tv motorbike forces Van Baarle off the road... Uran attacks, Bardet goes on conter and flies down solo once again. WHAT A RIDER! others follow. 

Uran, Bardet and Rolland are together and leading the race.

Rodriguez joins. Then, the Yellow Jersey group, where 
Thomas and Konig are back.
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Flat: Rolland attacks solo. The rest gets caught. Riders get off the peloton again and again. 
A new break formed including: 
Bardet, Rolland, Pantano, Kreuziger, Gallopin, Kangert, Kruijswijk, Rodríguez, Rogers, Gautier, Urán, Sicard, Plaza Molina, Losada, Clement, Herrada, Cummings, Malori, Wellens, Edet and van Baarle and Teklehaimanot. Gap is 2'38". Wellens crashes in the feed zone. The break slows down.

Embedded image permalinkCol de la Croix de Fer (2067m, HC, 22.4km, avg 6.9%). Lotto-Jumbo is leading the chase for Robert Gesink.
Embedded image permalinkBit of flat and Pierre Rolland attacks again. Team Astana goes in front and sets an high pace. Big selection in the Yellow Jersey's group. Only Poels remain with Froome while Porte Konig, Roche and Thomas lost contact. Finally also Poels gets dropped, Froome is isolated and Nibali attacks with Kangert. Quintana is on his wheel. Froome hangs on.
5 km to the top Poels, Mollema and Gesink are back to the Froome's group. Thomas instead is way behind.
Embedded image permalinkValverde attacks and bridges to Molina who was chasing solo Rolland. The group is close and it includes: Froome, Quintana, Gesink, Nibali, Kangert, Majka, Uran, Scarponi, Poels, Mollema  and Edet.
Nibali looks at Quintana: "C'mon!" 
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Valrgren and... his sister! today he abandoned :(
Mechanical for Froome, he has to stop and Nibali attacks. Froome's immediately back on bike. Nobody reacted. Moreover! Valverde closes on Nibali. But Nibali attacks again.
Froome is forced to chase solo. He catches the back of the group but had to spent. Nibali goes.
KOM: Rolland, then Nibali then Bardet who's grabbing the Polka Dot.
Embedded image permalinkDescent: Rolland and Nibali are taking crazy risks. In the group, Valverde goes fighting with Poels and Froome for leading in the downhill. 
The technical section is over and the group slows down to eat and drink. Pinot, Barguil, Gautier and Sanchez have come back. Thomas is still chasing. 
Col du Mollard (1638m, 2nd cat, 5.7km, avg 6.8%). Molina attacks but gets finally caught. Barguil gets dropped again. 
Rolland tops the KOM and Nibali joins. They fly down together. 3rd is Bardet, more and more in Polka Dot and fighting for the podium. Three terrific descenders launched on the attack.
Embedded image permalinkBut Bardet has got a mechanical problem at the shifter: he's forced on the short gear! Mechanical also for Kreuziger who has got a broken wheel.
Thomas is sinking 9'45'' down. And it's raining on the finish line.
Finally the AG2R car is allowed to pass, Bardet gets a working bike and catches the back of the Yellow Jersey group
Embedded image permalinkLa Toussuire (1705m, 1st cat, 18km, 6.1%). Mechanical and bike change for Contador, Kreuziger stops to help and he's quickly back. Frank is immediately dropped.
16 km to go Vincenzo Nibali goes solo. Gap is 1'50'' but growing soon.
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Recap! In the Yellow Jersey's group there are: Christopher Froome (Team Sky), Wout Poels (Team Sky), Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Movistar Team), Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Movistar Team), José Herrada Lopez (Movistar Team), Alberto Contador Velasco (Tinkoff-Saxo), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), Robert Gesink (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team), Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (BMC Racing Team), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr), Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), Ruben Plaza Molina (Lampre-Merida), Michele Scarponi (Astana Pro Team), Cyril Gautier (Team Europcar). But it's losing pieces.

Embedded image permalinkRolland is bitting the bullet but doesn't give up. The group is closing the gap. 7 km to go he's caught.
Nibali still has 2'21".
5 km to go Poels gets dropped. Quintana attacks. Froome responds. Valverde and Contador try but can't follow.
Embedded image permalinkFroome chases solo. Quintana goes but how can he gain 3' in 5 km? Gap is just 15''. 
Slight descent: Froome on the pedals. Three terrific climbers launched on the attacks.
Last km for Vincenzo Nibali. The Shark bits his victory.

Vincenzo Nibali:
Embedded image permalink“We wanted to make the race hard on the Croix de Fer, and the team did that. It was a huge effort but this was an important stage and I dedicate it to the people who were close to me after a dark first week. Tomorrow it’s the Alpe d’Huez, let’s hope for the best.”

Chris Froome:
“Nibali did see what he was doing, I’m pretty sure he looked around, saw I was in trouble and attacked. In my opinion you don’t do that to the race leader, it’s not sportsmanlike".
Embedded image permalink“It was a massive day out there and the racing was on from the word go. All-in-all it was a pretty good stage for us and we were able to tick another day off. We’ve got one day of serious racing left now. Quintana put in a real big attack there and I chose to ride at my own tempo, limit my losses, and stay within myself ahead of another big day tomorrow.
It was a tough day for the team, and tough for Geraint losing a lot of time. He was feeling empty after doing such a great job to support me up until now. He’s been there every single day and it’s sad he’s lost his fourth place.
It’s going to be full-on tomorrow up Alpe d’Huez but I’m actually looking forward to it – it’s the most iconic stage of this year’s Tour. It’s going to be epic out there. It would be a dream to take the stage win, but I’ll have to keep up with a little Colombian first.
Embedded image permalinkClose to the summit of the Col du Glandon my back wheel locked up and a bit of tar or a small stone had locked itself between my brake calipers and my back wheel, so I had to stop, take the wheel backwards and get the stone out. Unfortunately, that was the moment Nibali had decided to make his move.”

Geraint Thomas:
Embedded image permalink“I was just empty today. It was always going to happen and I was hoping it was going to come on Monday but it came today. I just didn't have it, and as they say, sometimes you're the hammer and sometimes you're the nail. I was a cheap nail today, terrible, but there you go. There's only one mountain stage to go. It was such a tough start, and when you've got nothing in the legs there's not a lot you can do.”

Nairo Quintana:
“Overall, the day went pretty well, but we missed that final touch. We initially tried to control Nibali, thinking that Sky would start chasing later on, but it's true that a rider like Vincenzo was really far in the overall standings in that moment, and they didn't have to care about him. We kept pushing with José Herrada, who was fantastic, and Tinkoff pulled a bit later on to gain some time back. I jumped when I though it was the right moment and place to put a good distance on Froome, but it wasn't enough compared to what we thought. There's only one day left, the final mountains for all of us - we'll try to attack stronger and also fight for the stage win. Regarding Alejandro('s podium chances), I think there shouldn't be any problems when riding face-to-face tomorrow; we conceded a big gap today, but I think they'll be together tomorrow.”

Embedded image permalinkBauke Mollema:
“The uphill start was crazy! This was the toughest stage of the Tour and the race was on from the start to finish. I wanted to jump, too, but Sky literally told me no way. Bardet was there, and that was bad, but not horrible. It was full gas all day and I am really empty. I felt a lot better than the last days, I felt that right away. With an uphill start like this it was going to be a really hard day, and it was only going up and down all day. It was a big fight in the front, and not only for us but also for the guys behind who must fight to make the time limit.
Embedded image permalinkI moved up one spot in the GC so it was a good day. It was a good pace the last two climbs and I was happy to be there in the front and I kept fighting to the finish. It was just one of those days that if you did not have good legs it would be a really, really hard day. Thankfully, I felt much better today, and that is good for the morale. Tomorrow again will be a big fight, and I feel more confident for Alpe d’Huez. That’s what will count.”

Embedded image permalinkAlberto Contador:
"It was a day where I had to survive. I started with bad sensations and cramps all day so I had to save energy as much as I could. I sent Majka to pull at the front and he set the pace and it calmed a bit down. Things turned out quite well. Nibali is now ahead in the GC and I congratulate him for that. It's true he did a very good job today. In what regards me, I think it deserves more merit to have reached this point than previous victories. I had strong cramps throughout the day and I was praying to make it through. Tomorrow will be another day. We will see how I will feel tomorrow. The most important thing right now is to have a very good massage and recover. My muscles and tendons suffered a lot because the extreme heat dehydrated me. The most important aspect is to recover for tomorrow”. 

Embedded image permalinkPeter Sagan:
Embedded image permalink“I hope that I feel good tomorrow and that I will make it to Paris as fresh as possible. Now I’m thinking about resting and that tomorrow will be really, really hard and then I can start focusing on Paris and the Champs-Élysées. Today I felt a bit better than yesterday and I hope that I will be fresh again tomorrow. If I can finish within the time limit tomorrow the green jersey is just one day away in Paris, which is more like a celebration race before the finale. But on the Champs-Élysées, everybody of course wants to win and I will try if I’m there."

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1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 4:22:53
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:44
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:14
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:02:26
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
Embedded image permalink7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
8 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
9 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
10 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
11 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:02:35
12 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:17
13 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-Merida 0:04:53
14 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:05:02
Embedded image permalink15 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
16 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:06:23
17 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:08:05
18 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
19 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
20 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 78:37:34
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:38
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:25
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:06:44
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:07:56
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:08:55
7 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:12:39
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:13:22
9 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:14:08
Embedded image permalink10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:17:27
11 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:18:25
12 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:19:27
13 Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka 0:26:48
14 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:27:00
15 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:27:24
Embedded image permalink16 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:40:40
17 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:57:49
18 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:59:26
19 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling 0:59:42
20 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 1:12:21
21 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 1:14:48
22 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 1:16:00
23 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team 1:19:34
24 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 1:19:35
25 Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18 1:19:49
26 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 1:21:03
27 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 1:21:53
28 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1:25:51
29 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 1:31:33
30 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 1:32:10
Embedded image permalinkJERSEYS
Yellow: Froome
Green: Sagan
Polka Dot: Bardet
White: Quintana

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