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Tour de France 2015 Stage 19

photo credit @ Twitter 

Last year’s Tour de France winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), finally redeemed himself today, after claiming the mountainous stage 19 at La Toussuire. 

The Italian rider finally broke clear of the peloton along the slopes of the Col de la Croix de Fer, subsequently catching the day’s lone escapee,  Pierre Rolland, on the Col du Mollard.

From there, Nibali was successful in dispatching Rolland at the start of the final climb to La Toussuire, and go on to s solo victory. 

Race Highlights

Today’s stage went off with a fury, with Chris Froome’s “lieutenants”, Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte, finding themselves in difficultly trying to stay on terms with the peloton from the outset of the race.

At one point, a sizable group of 22 riders came to form the day’s breakaway group. And, as they tackled the climbs of the Col du Glandon and the Col de la Croix de Fer, the group had established a two and a half minute advantage over the peloton.

Pierre Rolland (Europcar) was the first rider to attack from the ranks of the breakaway, subsequently opening up a small gap for himself. 

Back in the chase, Astana took up the pace setting, with the goal of keeping their man Nibali in play. As result, a lot of riders found themselves in trouble trying to stay onboard with the Kazakstan team’s pace.

Poise for action, Nibali then attacked toward the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer, just as Froome stopped to correct a brake problem – and quickly built up a slight gap of his own. 

Ahead, Rolland crested the summit and hit the descent towards the Col du Mollard.

Meanwhile, Nibali continued to eat into Rolland’s advantage, later catching him at the top of the Col du Mollard – with the Froome group now two minutes adrift.

From there, Rolland and Nibali descended together, with what appeared to be a mutual agreement.

However, that agreement was short lived, as Nibali then rode away from Rolland just two kilometers into the final 18km climb to La Toussuire.

Rolland was later caught by the chase with 8km to go. Soon after, Quintana attacked and was pursued by Froome, as Valverde and Contador tried but failed to stay on terms. 

While Quintana continued to distance Froome et al, his efforts failed to catch Nibali, with the defending champion taking an emotional, solo stage victory.

Stage 19 Results
ITA 1 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) 4:22:53
COL 2 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 44
GBR 3 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 1:14
FRA 4 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ) + 2:26
FRA 5 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
ESP 6 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR)
NED 7 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK FACTORY RACING)
NED 8 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
ESP 9 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO)
ESP 10 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING)

General Classification after Stage 19
GBR 1 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) 78:37:34
COL 2 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 2:38
ESP 3 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 5:25
ITA 4 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) + 6:44
ESP 5 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 7:56

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