Mohoric takes his second stage this Tour as favourites save themselves for tomorrow
With the 2021 Tour de France decided, stage 19, flat as the palm of the hand, was the last vestige of a stage victory in a breakaway or sprint. With only tomorrow's individual time trial and the formalities of Paris to come, the finish in Libourne was the last chance for those who had lost their way. But Mohoric didn't have enough on stage 7, so he broke away after a multitude of other breakaways to go solo.
First half with several falls
Obviously, all transition stages have dangers. In fact, we saw plenty of them in the first week, and today was no different. Crashes or cuts awaited like the grim reaper, and they made their appearance. Among the crashes, one affected Enric Mas, who has given character to this Tour but hasn't had that bit of luck to touch the podium or take a stage.
Michael Woods, who has had a very good Tour, and Miguel Ángel López, on whom there were high hopes but who has disappointed, retired so close to the end.
As we said, it didn't take long for the crashes to appear. After a first attack by Thomas de Gendt, the peloton became nervous and a large number of crashes without consequences, including Thomas, Konrad and Henao, set off an alarm. Watch out, because it's not over yet.
The first lead group was formed by Mohoric, Bernard, Rutsch, Zimmermann, Bonnamour and Clarke and UAE gave them all the rope without fear. He lost more than two minutes but there was no panic. Another fall was another warning.
This was the one that took Mas and other notables, such as Cavendish, Colbrelli and Guillaume Martin. They all got up, dusted themselves off, licked their wounds and rejoined the peloton, but nobody likes a good crash. Pogacar was well protected and in the lead, in case there was a fall, to reduce the chances of being hit.
The breakaway, for its part, was going to 4 minutes. In the peloton there was nervousness: for many, this was going to be the last day to try for the stage victory and the teams with sprinters did not want to lose that opportunity. Attacks followed one after the other, but none of them came to success. However, it did serve to reduce the advantage of the escapees, which was already 3 minutes.
Final and to think about tomorrow's time trial
Of all those attempts, a very numerous one took shape. Among the brave, Valverde and Cortina, and interesting names like Van Avermaet, Pedersen, Fraile, Izagirre or Turgis. They gained almost a minute but lost it little by little. But they kept their independence: the peloton couldn't catch them. The Spanish options were dropped and the group was reduced. But it also lost quality and with it time in relation to the peloton. Bahrain Victorious pulled and pulled to catch them and the advantage was 20 seconds.
With 80 kilometres to go, the teams that didn't have a breakaway got tired and lifted their foot. This is what the breakaway was hoping for, so they increased their lead to 4 minutes again and saw real chances of making it to the finish without being caught. The average time they set over the next hour, 51.5 kilometres per hour, gives an indication of their intentions, and the prize was a 10-minute advantage. And what happens when the breakaway is victorious? The internal war begins. Aspirations and individual struggles for glory begin.
The first to try was Gesbert. The Frenchman was racing at home and wanted to show off. The same went for Gesbert, Bonnamour and Rutsch. Then came Laporte and Politt. All these attacks only served to reduce the group, which now consisted of only 15 riders.
Mohoric was not satisfied with his victory and attacked with 20 kilometres to go. In a couple of kilometres he gained 20 seconds on Laporte, who was eventually rejoined by the bunch. Mohoric has faith to give away.
The Bahrain rider was constantly lying down on the bike and putting everything he had into it. The disagreements and lack of collaboration behind him gave him a 50-second lead. If he kept it up, he was going to win his second stage in this Tour de France 2021 after his victory in the seventh.
We do not know very well what they eat in Slovenia, but today they are a power in road cycling, with the strongest by far in a Pogacar who has a tremendous decade left, with Roglic as a rooster and with a Mohoric who is shining a lot and well this year and in this Tour de France 2021. Great victory for him, two stages that he won't forget, and the favourites will be calm thinking about the little that is left in the individual time trial tomorrow.
- Mohoric, M. - Bahrain | 4:19:17
- Laporte, C. - Cofidis | +58
- Pedersen, C. - Team DSM | +58
- Pogacar, T. - UAE | 81:30:02
- Vingegaard, J. - Jumbo Visma | +5:45
- Carapaz, R. - Ineos Grenadiers | +5:51