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Tour de France Stage 19 Preview

A lazy route, the kind that could be enjoyed at 15km/h as much as at 50km/h. A sprint stage to reward the riders who’ve hauled themselves over the mountains, or the last chance for everyone else to get a prestigious stage win?

Confirmation bias: each passing day seems to reinforce the things we think we already know. Jonas Vingegaard is set to win the Tour de France, Covid-permitting. Tadej Pogačar will finish second, and while he’s tried to reverse matters with attacks, he can’t get a gap on his rival. Geraint Thomas is set to finish third without ever attacking but instead pedalling to the words of Kipling’s “If”. David Gaudu is on his way to finishing fourth, higher than many expected but he’s 11 minutes down, the podium isn’t a step away, there’s a wall and a moat in between. Wout van Aert is irrepressible, attacking at the start of the stage, shaking Thibaut Pinot off his wheel later. All this we know, yet it’s all been entertaining to watch, seeing each stage unfold has been to visit to a gourmet restaurant, we know we’ll get a fine meal it’s still special to sit down each day and enjoy it, even watching what we know happen is rewarding, plus there are surprises. To critique the 2022 Tour is to be left wanting more, perhaps a better battle for the green jersey or more changes in the yellow jersey. But that still feels picky, especially when it’s for free. Today brings Stage 19 and the sense that it’s all coming to an end, our three week feast is now done with dessert and we’re on to coffee and sweets.

The Route: 188km north. A start in Castelnau-Magnoac, home to less than 800 people but one of them was Antoine Dupont, rated by some as the best rugby player in the world. Then it’s a dash along long straight roads, going through Auch – birthplace and long time home to Nicolas Portal – for the intermediate sprint.

Tactically there’s not much to the course, this is course that could be savoured at 15km/h as it passes through places that become sublime in summer. The race takes time to tour around the narrow roads of Lauzerte where the first mountains competition feels out of place: too intense, too soon after lunch. Then the race visits Montcuq – tune into race radio for the niche joke – and later Luzerch, where the Danish royal family keep a summer residence.

The Finish: a flat dash through around Cahors which is located inside the bend of a river, then it’s away from the river for the final kilometre which rises up slightly to the line.

The Contenders: a sprint stage or a breakaway day? Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) coped fine with the Pyrenees and the slight uphill finish suits him. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) is the big name sprinter sans a stage win. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step) has the speed but could be tired and he’s sans Michael “magic” Mørkøv. Having ravaged the previous stage and being a pick for tomorrow, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) might still be up for it.

The breakaway has a good chance just because of the numbers. If you haven’t won a stage of the Tour so far and sat out mountain stages and aren’t resting for tomorrow’s time trial then you’re among a hundred or so riders who might quietly dream of a win here. Suggestions could include Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis), Nils Politt (Bora-hansgrohe), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Fred Wright (Bahrain)

Jasper Philipsen
Ewan, Jakobsen
WVA, Pedersen, Politt

Weather (updated): heating up, 32°C and with a pesky 20km/h headwind WNW crosswind that at times that could gust more.

TV: the stage starts at 1.00pm CEST and the finish is for 5.20pm. Watch the start to see if things are wild or if a “4×4” move goes clear: four riders who are never allowed to get more than four minutes in a forlorn move, if so tune in again later for a sprint finish.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • 150 Watts Friday, 22 July 2022, 6:23 am

    The old get old and the young get stronger. Can’t help but wonder where Hindley will fit into the new pecking order.
    I haven’t seen Monsieur Dupont play but can’t imagine he compares to Serge Blanco!

    • Utah Friday, 22 July 2022, 6:33 am

      I don’t think Hindley’s climbing is quite at the level of Pog and Vinny, but if I’m wrong there, his TT’ing, while improving, it certainly not at their level.

    • Tovarishch Friday, 22 July 2022, 7:46 am

      I’ve been watching rugby for 60 years. I don’t think I have ever seen a more complete player. He can do anything.

      • gabriele Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:35 pm

        So are you telling me Wout now tackles rugby too? :-O

        • AndyW Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:24 pm

          I expect he plays as prop, hooker, scrum half and winger all at once 😉

    • md3 Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:36 am

      Remember when Pogačar came on the scene a couple of years ago? Antoine Du Pont has shown a comparable ability to expand the parameters of how good we think a player can be.

    • Gelato4bahamontes Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:45 am

      We should soon find out about Hindley as he’s on the current start list for the vuelta along with pogacar, roglic, carapaz, almeida, mas, valverde and nibali.

      • Fra Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:05 am

        I hope a Giro could sport similar start-up one day. 🙁

        • gabriele Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:30 pm

          Hard to see that happening soon, things recently took an unpleasant turn for the Corsa Rosa perspectives, after an impressive growing curve which hit its peak in the second half of the 10s.

          The Vuelta, anyway, used to have great startlist since 2005, but you always have to wonder what the riders’ conditions are, even when they end up racing it without having finished the TDF. Sometimes even having raced the Giro three months before may reduce your potential (be it only because you’re perhaps going for an elusive third form peak). Just check Bernal 2021 at the Vuelta. Good but not great. Same for Nibali, even when he won it.
          Generally speaking, Autumn closing in takes its toll, the season starts to feel like it’s been stretched too long. However, it’s a fact that since the Armstrong era was over, the Vuelta started to have great startlists which often granted excellent racing even when the course design was poor – imagine now that it got frankly improved. At least half of the editions since then have been really good.

          The Giro 2013-2019 had been having a series of startlists you can’t really complain about, especially because the big names were there to give it all for the win, and they showed it on the road. Things had been improving since 2007, really, but in the beginning it was more about one or two big names, then the podium started to be fought among multiple GT podiumers, arguably better than what the TDF was having during those same years. Despite its consistency, during those specific years even the Vuelta couldn’t keep up with that level, either.

          Now I’m afraid that 2020-2022 could become a mid to long term trend rather than an unpleasant parenthesis. Pogacar will now be focussed 100% on the TDF, and same goes for Vingegaard. This Tour (and last Giro, too) made it very apparent that there’s not enough quality around to make for their absence, unless some new name steps up very very seriously (the sort of double jump Vingegaard did), which would be hugely welcome.

          • CA Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:56 pm

            Oh come on Gabriele – I think we always need to understand riders’ conditions at the Giro/Vuelta is not the TdF, but that doesn’t take away from them.

            As a fan, I’ve grown more and more interested in these races over the years. They’ve produced some great races, even if Froome/Contador were not at their TdF form (for example). Obviously riders like Hindley are not as good as Pogacar/Vingegaard, but who really cares? Hindley is still in the top 1% of the top level peloton and his win is deserved.

            I think it is impossible to always expect perfection from our athletes/races – that’s the type of mentality that leads to doping. I mean, realistically how is it possible to be at peak for 3 months or have double peaks without serious doping? It is not physically possible for Vingegaard to be in this condition in another 4-6 weeks… and no one should expect him to be either.

            Back in the day, the cannibal was at different form levels for the different races too… he just never competed with guys who only targeted certain races – everyone followed the same form schedule.

          • gabriele Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:07 pm

            I can’t get your point. Or points. Any of it.
            To start with, I’d argue that at the Giro relative shape of the riders is mostly superior when compared to the one they bring into the Vuelta (generally speaking), and that was my number one point when potentially comparing startlist, so I wouldn’t associate the two races as you do.
            Secondly, not only I utterly enjoy the three GTs, having watched fully the three of them for years now, but I consider – the three of them – different and all essential to cycling, each with ist characteristics. Of course, I’d find it ideal to be able to watch as the different top riders are faced with those very different circumstances, be it in different seasons, of course, which isn’t going to happen if the best only and always focus on the Tour, then bring the scraps at the Vuelta.
            Thirdly, as I showed in other posts here, I don’t expect any rider to be in top form all year around, and I appreciate more any of them who dares and prepares for different goals than the ones who pick a single big task and sacrifice the rest of the season to it. Which is legitimate, of course, and create further interest.

          • Andy W Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:51 pm

            Is there an implied bias in your comment that the likes of Hindley, Hart etc are somehow not “good enough” for the Giro? It’s still difficult to truly assess 2020, but a recent TDF winner won the 2021 Giro without truly dominating (apart from that stage in the snow), while I think Hindley proved his credentials this year, given that the field was about as strong as it could have been in the absence of Pogacar, Roglic and Vingegaard. With S Yates and Carapaz, there were GT winners who had specifically targeted the Giro, which would crudely suggest that Hindley was in no way a “weak” winner even though he’s undoubtably not quite as strong as Pogacar and Vingegaard. Is there much difference in the quality of the rest of the top 10 between races? I’d also be interested to see whether the W/kg analysts have compared Hindley’s performances with the recent TDF climbs.

          • CA Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:30 pm

            I’m commenting on your sentence “things recently took an unpleasant turn for the Corsa Rosa perspectives”

            I think you are completely off the mark – correct me if I’m wrong but your expectations are that the absolute top riders line up for the Giro, TdF and Vuelta – and they line up in peak form for each race. I think that is completely unreasonable an expectation.

            The Giro adds a lot to the cycling season by showcasing other riders. It’d be really boring if Pogacar-Bernal-Vingegaard dominated each GT for the next 5 years. The fan perspective benefits by having different riders at each one.

          • CA Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:32 pm

            Ok, I read your entire post fully – we are making the same points… I was mostly commenting on your point that the Corsa Rosa has taken a downturn, which I do not understand at all.

            Anways, I’ll leave it at that. Your second post matches my thoughts.

          • hoh Friday, 22 July 2022, 5:35 pm

            Bernal had COVID after his Giro win, so he was compromised somewhat.

          • hoh Friday, 22 July 2022, 5:42 pm

            I’d say Vingegaard & Pogacar’s dominance (with hopefully a healthy Bernal threw in the mix), if it does materialise, would improve Giro & Vuelta start list quality in the coming years, the same way Froome’s dominance made it so. The Tour top step would be so unreachable that others would focus on Giro and Vuelta instead.

  • DJW Friday, 22 July 2022, 7:27 am

    Given that a French rider won’t win the TT or final sprint (do miracles exist?), a breakaway holding out today seems to be the last chance for a French win in 2022. Two in the top ten and four in the top twenty feel like poor compensation for a nation with by far the largest representation.

    We have thought the top three were fixed for days now but Vingegaard came within a whisker of losing all yesterday. Not many could have saved that situation.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 22 July 2022, 9:38 am

      Looks like a repeat of 1926 and 1999 for the French riders: a year without a French stage winner. Yet the mood isn’t too despondent about this, they’re missing Alaphilippe, Gaudu in fourth is a decent ride, he can’t get any higher but has been tenacious to get this.

      • DJW Friday, 22 July 2022, 9:50 am

        Démare would have had a chance too but the team made the decision to support Gaudu. In any case he had a good Giro justifying team strategy for both races.

        Even if Alaphilippe had been fit and present I’m not sure in which stage he could have triumphed. Longwy maybe.

        And astonished to see 1922 without a French stage win. IR misses nothing.

        • Greg Friday, 22 July 2022, 1:48 pm

          The French can and will live with that.
          Spain on the other had no stage win since 2018.

          • gabriele Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:34 pm

            I believe I read (not checked) that it would be the very first time with no wins for either an Italian, a Spaniard or a French. As Greg said, France long showed that it’s not an utter problem for their movement. Not as sure about Italy or Spain, indeed.
            In more general terms (beyond the random stage win) luckily for Spain, they’ve got a couple of names coming up strong to hope for, Italy really doesn’t.

      • The Inner Ring Friday, 22 July 2022, 5:23 pm

        Well Laporte’s fixed that.

    • CA Saturday, 23 July 2022, 1:29 am

      Yes believe in miracles. Laporte is on fine form and Visma is unstoppable.

  • stevhanti Friday, 22 July 2022, 7:29 am

    Not a mention of the Cahors red wine?

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:49 am

      It’s in reserve for tomorrow.

      • Neil Storey Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:14 am

        Oh, shame… I was rather banking on an exposé of Rocamadour’s rather fine Cabécou goat cheeses for tomorrow’s preview, after all there was the Rocamadour cheese fair earlier in June both of which, I feel, somewhat out-trumps vino rouge from Cahors. Non?

        • hoh Friday, 22 July 2022, 5:44 pm

          Is that the Coca-Cola tasted rose that the Americans supposedly love?

          • D Evans Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:59 pm

            No.

  • Georges Guêpe Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:07 am

    I can’t help thinking that the Poganaut is perennially handicapped by riding in a weaker team, exacerbated this time round by multiple DNF’s. Any thoughts?

    • Rob MD Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:41 am

      Pogacar won 2 TdF and was in a “weak” team both times, so it was more his tactical misstakes on stage 11 that left him behind Vingegaard. We forget that Pogacar is still only 23!

      • Steve Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:57 pm

        I think Pogacar, alas, made several mistakes prior to stage 11, though chasing Roglic proved to be the most costly. I thought he was burning matches unnecessarily in the very early stages and those have come back to haunt him now. Hopefully, next year, the team will come in with a better plan.

    • The Inner Ring Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:49 am

      UAE are only a relatively weak team, Covid and illness has been problem. Sometimes they do still look like the Lampre that found a gold bar, like a small team with a big wage bill. But in this Tour they’ve been ok, Bennett would be able to match Kuss, Majka was almost too strong before he left the race, his pull to try and fetch Vingegaard on the Granon was more than Pogačar could do. Soler can match the Benoot role and so on. It was odd to select Marc Hirschi as a replacement on the eve of the race given his form, he’s been struggling all race. Above all Pogačar’s just been below Vingegaard on the climbs, that’s the difference.

      • Thomas Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:08 am

        A rare feat: I disagree with The Inner Ring. If I would put the team mates in a similar role side by side, I would almost always favor the Jumbo guys. Roglic > McNulty, Kuss > Majka, Kruijswijk > Bennett (easily comparable from their Jumbo days), Benoot > Soler, Laporte > Laengen, Van Aert > Hirschi (even if he would have been in top shape). Bjerg and van Hooydonck would be tight, but I have hardly seen Bjerg apart from his suicide pull on the Aspin.

        • Davesta Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:14 pm

          I tend to agree with Thomas here, albeit a little harsh on Majka I think – he’s been a very strong domestique for Pogacar over the last 2-3 years, even if his presence in the front group sometimes varies (much like Kuss).
          In comparing teams though, it’s impossible to ignore the benefit that Van Aert brings – he’s truly worth 2-3 other riders on other teams, with his infatiguable energy and versatility. It’s like Jumbo are racing with 10 men!

        • The Inner Ring Friday, 22 July 2022, 4:05 pm

          Jumbo-Visma are clearly stronger, it’s more that UAE aren’t the weak squad they’ve been before. Like I say they’ve been ok, see Bjerg, McNulty and Majka.

      • Greg Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:00 pm

        selecting Hirschi may seem odd to you, but who was the real better alternative as a last minute replacement for Trentin?
        You can only deal with the riders you have in your roster, and among them who’s not sick and most likely to make it through three weeks. At least Hirschi seem to see Paris on Sunday. Unlike 50% others in his team.

        • The Inner Ring Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:42 pm

          Indeed and they might have had worse options left. But teams normally have riders spare on the roster and it was just unusual to pick someone who clearly is out of form. Perhaps completing a grand tour will do him some good and he can look forward to the rest of the season, the worlds, Lombardia etc.

          • UHJ Friday, 22 July 2022, 6:09 pm

            They may have riders left on the roster, but the can generally only replace with the designated substitue riders. These shall be – ref art. 2.2.005 – fixed at the latest 72 hrs. prior to the license check.
            This can, to a certain extent, be disregarded for GTs if an explicit agreement can be made between organiser, UCI doctor, team and jury president and in this case only due to “medical reasons”.

      • CA Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:45 pm

        Me too – one of the first times I almost completely disagree with our host Inrng.

        Comparing UAE to Jumbo Visma my comparison is a Super Team (Visma) compared to the full-blown Lampre (in my mind, will always be a pro-conti team based on management and tactical decisions). Eg. Lining up the teams side by side, yes, UAE has 2-3 very solid teammates, but not a single rider in the category of WVA (even after his personal goals he blew the doors off the final mountain stage for his team) or Roglic. Even Kruijsvijk and Kuss are hard to match by UAE – but this is where the comparison to UAE is at least in the same category.

        Also, I don’t agree at all that Vingegaard has been clearly better than Pogacar in the mountains – I think overall their talent/form has been either a complete match or Pogacar is 1cm taller. Every GC stage other than 11 and yesterday, Pogacar got the final say over Vingegaard. On Stage 11 – Pogacar was covering moves for 3 hours effectively on his own… and making rookie mistakes (where was team management helping him – and reminding him to eat) – which led to being cooked by the final climb. And yesterday, Pogacar was equally cooked from riding for the Yellow Jersey, not focusing on the stage – he could have been more conservative in his attacks and save it for the stage – but that’s not how he is wired.

        Anyways, an excellent Tour and thanks to Inrng for this year’s Tour coverage – this is always my first stop every day.

        • osbk67 Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:26 pm

          It’s not just UAE – no other team has a single rider in the category of WVA…

          However it eventuated, Vingegaard _has_ clearly been better than Pogacar in the mountains. Time gaps are the indicator, not time bonuses.

        • shadowyoshi Saturday, 23 July 2022, 4:17 am

          I mean why are we comparing UAE to Jumbo-Visma? One it’s clear that UAE is good. Two Jumbo-Visma is better than everyone right now by a wide margin. If you took no team leaders and nobody from Ineos or Jumbo-Visma I’m not sure you could come up with a better team than them using an all star team from the whole peloton. Third, I wonder if this looks any different had Almeida been sent here to work for Pogacar instead of having a GC tilt at the Giro. Have to think at the very least that will be the case next season.

    • Ecky Thump Friday, 22 July 2022, 9:56 am

      I think we’ll see rider inflation go up by a few % in the coming months.
      Team UAE may have some already lined up but, and this is a generalisation here from observation, forgive me, the Arab nations in their sporting ownerships tend not to do ‘satisfied runners-ups’.
      They went from almost-ridiculed World Tour newcomers to Tour de France winners in 3 years or so, only marginally (no pun intended) less time that it took Team Sky to do likewise.
      Van der Poel to Team UAE anyone?

    • brent sword Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:34 am

      Undoubtedly UAE had a weaker team then jumbo but a complete team at the start which would not have included hirschi was a pretty good climbing team. They were weak on the flat stages but a a very good climbing team. Crashes and covid have scuppered the team but it was fairly strong.

  • Rob MD Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:31 am

    After McNulty and Bjerg’s herculean efforts on stage 17, WvA shows he can out do them both on stage 18 – attack from km 0, up and down mountains, then help the team leader drop last year’s TdF winner – easy peasy! This year’s TdF is on course for the fastest ever (apparently) – yes, there’s been short stages (average stage length has been getting shorter ever since WW2 according to another website), and two young guns have been going mano o mano, but I don’t need to remind people of pro-cycling’s “checkered history”. Vingegaard’s waiting for Pogacar was a heart felt moment with a tactical twist as Jumbo riders could catch up, but chapeau to team Jumbo for getting their man on the top step of the podium. Today, Lotto S to go nuts for Ewan – they’ve waited 18 stages and dragged Ewan through the Alps and Pyreness so I hope he gets the win. If not, a Sagan win would make TE’s TdF.

  • Ben F Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:34 am

    Would a stronger team for Pog have changed his attacking tactics though and conserved him more energy? …. Just not his style to reign in the attacking … at the moment.

  • Richard S Friday, 22 July 2022, 8:43 am

    Ever since Vingegaard took the lead I’ve been watching this Tour absolutely convinced that Pogacar was going to do something miraculous and end up winning. It goes to show how good he has been that the idea of him not winning seemed ridiculous. I suppose I’ve still got the TT to cling to. I wonder if trying to win spring classics was maybe an idea too far. As much as we all hate specialism and love the way Pogacar, MvdP and Van Aert try and win everything there was good sound reasoning behind how it came about. Anyway, I’ll put an imaginary fiver on Van Aert to win this stage, the TT and the final sprint.

    • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 9:36 am

      I agree with everything you say.

      Vinny has been the best rider and deserving winner, any tour with a day like the Grandon is a winner in my eyes and JV deserve big praise for the tactics this year, they’ve not only been excellent they’ve been entertaining.

      Pog, for me, is the better all round cyclist and a marvel who I expect to return stronger. Think I finish this Tour wondering whether Pog will be forced to ditch the Classics, possibly do a Wiggo and get skeletal and who UAE can buy to give him improved support… he needs a few more super-domestiques who are ex-GC contenders in their own right, although who could ever do what WVA can?

      Unfortunately Bennett, Soler and even surprisingly Hirschi are too unreliable, even if it’s none of their fault they got ill on this Tour. If I’m honest I don’t know how good Laegen is but suspect they could do better. UAE potential purchases –

      options for the flat alongside Berg –
      Rohan Dennis, Stefan Kung, Alberto Bettiol
      options for the mountains alongside Majka & McNulty –
      Fuglsang, Louis Meitjes, Jan Hirt, Daminao Caruso, Fausto Masnada, Mikel Landa (unlikely)
      options for the medium mountains –
      Kwiatowski, Michael Storer,
      options for youthful energy –
      Matteo Jorgenen, Andrea Bagioli

      one or two of each and Pog might have the resources he deserves but that’s just fantasy cycling I guess.

    • Ecky Thump Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:16 am

      I hope he doesn’t ditch the Classics.
      A couple of things I’ve taken away from watching him.
      1. His self-confidence is rightly huge, to match his talent, but he’s been taken down a peg or two here. It can, though, benefit him going forward. He might have to rein in his approach a touch, and adopt a more analytical style at the Tour.
      Conversely, he may also have under-estimated Vingegaard’s abilities, a mistake he won’t make again?
      2. I think the dynamics of the race totally altered when Jumbo-Visma repeatedly attacked him and, it appeared, forced his mistake of not eating / drinking enough.
      From that point on, Pogacar’s strength (his attacks) became his ultimate weakness as he dashed himself against the rock of Vingegaard’s defence. He had no other choice unfortunately and credit to Pogacar that he fought himself almost to a standstill.
      I think that Pogacar is the better TT’er, and the more explosive finisher, but he may have to plot his way around future TdFs more thoughtfully rather than bludgeon as he has done over the past 2 years.

      • Rooto Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:06 am

        I think this TdF will do wonders for Pogačar, especially for his popularity. Instead of being faced with years of domination, we the fans will be very happy to see his attacking style sometimes come out on top, sometimesnot, in the future.
        Like the last few years in tennis, and unlike so many football leagues, a great rivalry elevates both the sportsmen/ women and the sport.

        • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:03 pm

          Agree with everything above 100%

          *Moment The Race was won – the start of the Galibier when Roglic&Vingegaard attacked

          Obviously INRNG as a respected authority and far better judge than us likely has to go with Vingegaard’s attack as you should to credit the winner with the winning attack (and given Vinny strength it’s likely he would have won without JV’s excellent tactics) — but — the way the race played out it was this moment where they fooled Pogacar to chase a weakened Roglic, creating the scenario where he forgot to fuel and gave Vinny a free ride to the top which likely created 2min+ gap on GraNon and led to the race we’ve all just enjoyed. Without it there’s a possibility we might be going into the TT wondering whether Pog could close a far smaller deficit.

          I’m saying what a thousand other people have said so probably wasting the energy typing… I just found it all so exciting and this is my way of buzzing off the high of being fortunate enough to watch such a great race.

          • gabriele Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:55 pm

            Agreed with all, all the above, comments further up included, and including the “why am I typing this?” perspective (referred to myself, I mean). Barring perhaps the “Vinny” thing.

            Obviously, Vingegaard was stronger uphill, yet I struggle to see Pogacar losing more than one minute on Granon without the JV team play, then even less on Hautacam – in a scenario of not having cracked on Granon, and hence reduced time gap in GC from then on. The obsessive deep attacking you’re forced in really dig your grave.
            Also note that Vingegaard looks slightly hesitant or prudent – he could well have attacked Pogacar long before on Granon or Hautacam but he looked like he needed some external ignition (Bardet going with no reply by Pogi, WVA’s attack)… Peyragudes may also be a case of the above. Imagine if Pogi doesn’t just crack. The importance of Roglic’s role was paramount, and I struggle to call a mistake the decision to follow him, before, then later to keep an high pace to try to keep him back away on Galibier. Of course, not taking enough food/water was surely a (forced) mistake. Jumbo played it great and show how great tactics can be an authentic pleasure for the spectator.

            I really hope Pogi doesn’t ditch the Classics. Winning a Ronde in his specific case would be worth much more than a third or even fourth TDF. Where he sits now, even winning the rest of GTs (both of them, not just one) would mean more than anything below 5 Tours… But bringing home a third different Monument would be really special. Become what you are. He needs a palmarés which mirrors how special he is when compared to the rest, not the redacted, abridged and adapted version of himself.

  • HPster Friday, 22 July 2022, 9:30 am

    Riders or course? Both, but the parcours does seem to have been inspired this year. Without the one calamitous day we’d still have some jeopardy at the top too. A memorable edition

  • htInEdin Friday, 22 July 2022, 9:30 am

    All credit to Vingegaard for waiting for Pogačar after his fall, but I’m tempted to see more than just honour among rivals in it: I think he wanted to show that he could and would win in a fair fight. To know it himself, and for Pogačar to know it too, as this is only the first of what we may hope will be many duels.

    • brent sword Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:41 am

      It actually made tactical sense for Jonas not to attack and wait for teammates but if he thinks that is fair play then good for him.
      I would have had 0% trouble with him to attack after Pogs fall. If you attack on a technical downhill and crash then that’s your own self inflicted problem, its not bad luck. Personally i would say you should not wait because it just encourages it next time. Would Pogacar have waited if Jonas had crashed. And should he wait – a philosophical question without a correct answer.

      • 150 Watts Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:16 am

        +1 Agree with all of this. It looked to me that Vingegaard was not happy about the prospect of not having someone to sit on.

        • Eekamouse Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:25 am

          Do you think that Vingegaard would not be this successful if he did not have Pog to sit on?

          • 150 Watts Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:42 am

            No it was just how I saw this particular situation. He had 2:18 up his sleeve and saw no need to do unnecessary work. Pushing on would only have left him in no man’s land.

      • Greg Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:13 pm

        So I assume you feel the same 0% trouble if Pog would have attacked after Vingegaard couldn’t save his bike just a minute before?

        • Cepphus Grylle Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:32 pm

          Would he have waited if he were 2’18 behind, instead of ahead? He was clearly the stronger rider anyway

      • JR Friday, 22 July 2022, 5:56 pm

        Being chivalrous when it is to your advantage (rather than when it is not to your advantage or is neutral to your advantage) does take some, but not all, of the shine off of the chivalry. Though I recognize it as part of the sport, I am glad that the race was not decided on the basis of going down a sketch descent. Though this next comment is very reductionist, I think the strongest rider won yellow this year. I must say I am looking forward to the next 5-10 years as V and Pogi battle for their spot in cycling history! And, I am also hoping that others, such as Bernal, can join the party!

  • Montain Goat Friday, 22 July 2022, 9:42 am

    A fantastic race so far, that I have thoroughly enjoyed with the fine help of Inrng as always. Great team effort by Jumbo Visma on stage 18, after now seemingly resting on stage 17 when Jonas was feeling good. This has to be one of my favourite TdF’s for the past 20 years, and it still has not finished. Jonas is incredibly lean right now, it appears JV has got everything just right for him to get to the finish super light, whilst still maintaining power. Jonas and Pogacar have both shown outstanding sportsmanship throughout the race, chapeau.

  • piwakawaka Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:39 am

    Awesome stage, brilliant racing, Yellow, White and Green on the podium, probably a first.
    Chapeau Jonas, Chapeau Tadej it’s been great!

  • Tomski Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:42 am

    Really enjoyed this year’s unpredictability. I think we all gave Pog the edge 3 weeks ago, and had he managed to keep a few more riders, I expect the standings would be closer. 2020 taught us that the final day’s tt (plus the spectre of covid) is anything but foregone. As Vinny said let’s not talk more until Paris. Smart tactics by JV – the gamble to let Roglic go home has seemingly paid off: hopefully he recovers in time for the Vuelta.

    From fully expecting a rider to dominate le tour for years to come in the style of Froome, I’m now looking forward to what could become a rivalry for the ages. Huge amounts of sportsmanship shown by the top two: chapeau!

    Also congratulations to Geraint for securing a podium spot by not putting a foot wrong.

    • Tomski Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:44 am

      Also entertaining for about 20 minutes yesterday that the same rider was going to potentially win the green and polka dot jerseys. I’m sure Inrng can let us know how many times that happened! Thanks as ever for the preview.

      • Eskerrik Asko Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:28 pm

        I have no idea how many times it has happened, but I read that the last time when a rider won both the green and the polka dot jersey, it was 1969 and the rider was Eddy Merckx.

        • Tomski Friday, 22 July 2022, 1:55 pm

          Yes I was thinking it would probably have to have been Merckx

        • Dave Friday, 22 July 2022, 4:03 pm

          I’m not familiar enough to know how each competition has changed over the intervening years too, though I bet it’d be an interesting augmentation of that stat

  • brent sword Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:45 am

    No stars for groenewegen. Assuming he is still in the race and as a winner earlier in the tour he could get a star. His team will likely be 100% committed.

  • plurien Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:56 am

    Wout van Aert to go in the break again today, just to make things really difficult for Lotto S and QST chasing.
    And then take the win again.
    Would so have liked him to have stayed with Vingegaard yesterday and be gifted the stage.
    – What would a green skinsuit à pois rouge look like?-)

    • plurien Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:58 am

      *poix rouges

    • Martijn Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:13 pm

      WvA can also still break Sagan’s record for most points. Since it’s dependent on both the parcours and the rules for points, it’s not the most prestigious record, but I wouldn’t get it past the ambitious Van Aert to go for it.

    • CA Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:49 pm

      it would look like a CHRISTMAS SUIT!!!

      Imagine that?!? Doing a TT with Green and Red Polka Dot skin suit…. would be hilarious.

      Maybe in 2023 WvA will win every single competition by attacking at KM0 every day and staying solo to the finish.

  • Dave Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:14 am

    I quite enjoyed G’s banter attack yesterday, short lived as it was

    • Cd Friday, 22 July 2022, 1:52 pm

      A couple of things. 1) Pogacar’s attacks the last few days were all short bursts with no follow through. I think he’d have been better off doing a longer sustained one to see if Jonas cracked but my feeling was he couldn’t. 2) With Mas’ exit, Movistar will really get nothing from this race and will be in trouble in the relegation battle potentially.

      • RV Saturday, 23 July 2022, 3:28 am

        They’ll be all-in for the Vuelta. I have a feeling the racing there is going to be high risk, full gas every stage.

  • Charles Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:39 am

    Great race. Shame the TT is now largely an irrelevant stage. Does the success of this tour ensure that bunch sprint stages are kept to a minimum in the same way as ITTs have been paired back over the last couple of decades

    • Richard S Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:53 pm

      It’s not irrelevant. 40km is a decent length and if it’s hot, which presumably it will be, any error in hydration or pacing will be magnified. I can remember Armstrong nearly throwing one of his Tours away (before he had to throw them all away) when he lost a chunk of time to Ullrich after getting dehydrated during a TT (probably longer in those days) on a red hot day. Having said that, Vingegaard’s lead is too big!

  • zsolberto Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:40 am

    Who do you think will get the Combativity Award in Paris? (aka. most aggressive rider of the whole race)
    I have two names in my head: Pinot, to have at least one Frenchman on the podium at Champs-Élysées by the organisers, or Geschke as a “consolation” price for the polka-dot jersey that he missed on the last minute and after his heartbreaking reactions after finishing yesterday. Otherwise, if they search for the rider with the most attack, the prize must go to Pogacar (according to procyclingstats data), but I don’t think, that they want another award for him this time.
    Opinions guys?

    • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:10 pm

      Contenders – Cort, Jorgensen, Pinot, Geschke.

      It should be WVA thought surely.
      Even if they like to spread the joy, it’s almost absurd to think he shouldn’t win this.

      • Davesta Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:38 pm

        Cort is presumably ruled out due to being a DNF ?

        • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:45 pm

          Good point.

          Either way should be WVA

    • CA Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:51 pm

      WvA 100% – he’s been head and shoulders above any other rider in this category that I can remember. He has barely sat back once…

  • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:08 pm

    Jumbo Visma remind me of Geraint Thomas in this race.

    In that Geraint spent almost a decade looking great but crashing repeated in almost every race until he had a single perfect storm with great form and zero crashes to win in 2018.

    I’ve spent years bemused by a lot of Jumbo tactics where they’ve made mistakes to lose races they likely should’ve won only for them to suddenly bring everything together a produce a tactical masterclass on every front to likely take every jersey aside from white. It’s easier when you have the strongest riders but they still deserve huge credit.

    • Dave Friday, 22 July 2022, 4:01 pm

      It’s an interesting parallel, that. I do wonder whether Ineos could have taken J-V to task if the team was stronger this year. Their tactics have ended up smelling of roses, but in part it must be because no team has been able to disrupt them. Just Pog on his own with an occasional turn from one domestique.

      • RV Friday, 22 July 2022, 7:17 pm

        I think they would have been a very different team tactically with Bernal healthy and in full flight. Maybe not, though, because both Yates and Martinez were very far from their best. Thomas can just ride his race without much of a team around him, whereas Bernal really does need teammates working for him. I hope we see Bernal back before the end of the season. I’ll Lombardia, maybe?

        • RV Friday, 22 July 2022, 7:19 pm

          “Il Lombardia,” obviously. I hate autocorrect!

          • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:14 pm

            I honestly don’t think Bernal is in Pog nor Vingegaard’s league.

            We haven’t had proof but i really can’t see him competing with them coming next July.

  • Marginal brains Friday, 22 July 2022, 12:45 pm

    Call me old-fashioned but I am surprised by some pro riders not routinely wearing mitts. Lizzie Deignan in P-R and Pog’s spill yesterday show how easy it can be to rub the skin off your palms. If that happens early on in a long stage/race that’s real discomfort and potentially compromised bike handling to deal with?

    • Anonymous Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:19 pm

      Didn’t it start with the c/x guys who don’t wear gloves and now some follow as a fashion statement I think.

      • Richard S Friday, 22 July 2022, 4:54 pm

        Imagine how weird the tan lines on their hands would look. And how sweaty their hands would get.

        • Bern Friday, 22 July 2022, 7:03 pm

          Main reason I wear them is to rub glass off the tires at speed, but they don’t bother with that sort of thing…

  • Louis le Blond Friday, 22 July 2022, 1:02 pm

    Yesterday Jonas showed great sportsmanship and FairPlay by waiting on Pogo, when he crashed.
    Jumbo Vismas taktiks with attacking Pogo from day1 in the mountains payed off. Much credit for that.
    Vingegaard was the elegant ‘decent killer’ ! Yesterday Pogo attacked 6 times on the last 2 mountains!! Six times!!! Poga threw all he had into the fight! Vingegaard and Van Aert just sat there as Picadores waiting for Poga’s fatigue to show, and then killed him decently….. What a race – what at performance!
    Thank you to both Poga and Vingegaard – great sportsmen!!!!

  • Flanaghan Friday, 22 July 2022, 1:18 pm

    Going up Spandelles, approx. 40km to the line, I think McNulty was leading the yellow jersey group, there’s a moment where Thomas leaves the line of riders and twice asks for a bidon to Jumbo-Visma guys on the side of the road and twice is denied.
    It looks really nasty on TV to see a guy pleading for water and being denied but I suppose it’s a logical behaviour when you think of it.
    I’d be interested to know readers of this blog’s opinion on this: should there be more fair play or is it right that teams not dish out free water to rival competitors?
    Thanks for all the great content, INRNG and fellow readers

    • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 1:47 pm

      I saw this and thought exactly the same!

      All’s fair in love and war I guess and I expect Ineos have done similar off camera many times.
      The two people who denied Thomas also may have been light on bottles and waiting for their own riders later down the mountain possibly.

      One other think I thought – possibly the bottles had a ketone mix in, which can be quite pricey (£120/bottle a few years ago wasn’t it?) although that may be rubbish as they’re not used that late in a stage or a lot cheaper now. I don’t know how ketones work tbh.

      • Walkowiak Friday, 22 July 2022, 6:04 pm

        Yes, it’s common practice to give a bidon to other teams especially with the heat of the last days.
        The humans you see handing them out by the side of the road are not all TJV professionals. A lot of them are external guests who visit the Tour with TJV for a day.
        They are given the task to hand out bidons somewhere along the parcours. Maybe they are not familiar with the mores of the peleton or decide themselves that they only hand them out to a TJV member.
        I would be surprised if they are following explicit TJV orders

        • The Inner Ring Friday, 22 July 2022, 6:07 pm

          There’s a mix, but a helper might hand up water if they have it to spare but if they’ve still got seven colleagues to ride past, maybe they can’t spare a bottle. But I’ve seen teams handing up drinks to others many times this race when it’s been hot.

          A small detail: Jumbo-Visma team boss Richard Plugge has been beside the road at times handing up water bottles himself.

    • Tomski Friday, 22 July 2022, 1:58 pm

      Yes, bearing in mind G publicly said he wouldn’t team up with Pog, they probably owe him one.

      As oldDave said, maybe they only had enough bottles for their own riders.

    • Anonymous Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:09 pm

      It does make JV appear somewhat paranoid. Was Thomas really going to magically out-climb Vingegaard after a gulp of JumboJuice™?

      • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:23 pm

        I love this – JumboJuice™

      • gabriele Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:58 pm

        Oh yes. It’s like bees. Alive.

        • gabriele Friday, 22 July 2022, 2:58 pm

          Or was it beer? ^___^

    • Dave Friday, 22 July 2022, 4:02 pm

      I missed that, but you’re right. Bidons are shared regularly so it feels churlish of them to deny him one

    • JR Friday, 22 July 2022, 6:10 pm

      Saw that, too. FWIW, given that Thomas was not a threat to V’s overall GC position, and assuming that the feeder could get replacement bottles in time to service other JV riders, then, yes, give a bottle to G (if only b/c it gives you chips in the “I have helped you out in the past, and now I need your help” account). However, if those conditions are not met, no bottle for G. I had the good fortune to be on a team at one point that sported a multiple time National Ultra Endurance MTB champion (in the US) (I was fodder!), but, handling one’s nutrition was definitively part of the overall competition. Similarly, placing people in advantageous spots along the TdF route to meet the team’s nutrition needs is part of the competitive landscape of the Tour, so need to share, IMO.

  • oldDAVE Friday, 22 July 2022, 3:36 pm

    I hope everyone’s seen and enjoyed Biniam’s new helmet – https://twitter.com/ullrichserben/status/1550410376768020480?t=YVE3h6c50Bgl7txFUqTl_g&s=01

    I feel like there’s a great cork inspired nickname somewhere in there?

  • Baroudeur Billy Friday, 22 July 2022, 6:21 pm

    Well a Tour without a French win would have been sad. Chapeau Laporte!

  • S. Summers Friday, 22 July 2022, 10:47 pm

    I am a huge fan of WvA. He’s supremely talented and seems like a good guy.
    But his strength at the Tour is just outrageous. It’s almost unbelievable. Makes me wonder if he’s an alien?

    • RV Friday, 22 July 2022, 11:16 pm

      As Roglic said, half human, half motor!