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Due to the bad weather conditions around Tignes, the nineteenth stage in the Tour de France got neutralised. The organisation decided to use the time differences recorded at the top of the Col de l’Iseran for the general classification. As a result, Steven Kruijswijk, who was riding a very strong stage, remains fourth overall at 1'28 of the new overall leader Egan Bernal.
The stage with five climbs along the way was very spectacular until the neutralisation. Team Jumbo-Visma rode a strong race and was represented in the early breakaway by Laurens De Plus. Kruijswijk first attacked on the Col de l’Iseran. However, he could not answer Egan Bernal’s counter-attack. With the help of De Plus, the time difference to Bernal was limited to a minute at the top. During the long descent to Val d’Isere, the ASO decided, in consultation with the jury, that it was irresponsible to continue the stage.
Kruijswijk thought it was a justified decision after he had seen the images. “To continue the stage was certainly not an option with that hail and the landslides. It’s a pity, because we were riding very well. The plan was to sent Laurens into the break and it worked out. I felt good and tried it on the l’Iseran. When Bernal countered, I wasn’t able to follow. Laurens was very strong and then kept on pulling all the way to the top, so that we could take some time back knowing that it was still a long way to the finish. Of course I was going full throttle on the Iseran, but had I known that they would finish the stage there, I would have put in an even bigger effort. It’s a pity that Bernal took extra seconds on Alaphilippe there and I did not. This is bad luck, but it’s not the end just yet. We will go all out again tomorrow, although bad weather will probably have its effect again”, Kruijswijk concluded.
Sports director Grischa Niermann concurred with his leader. “Faces with these circumstances, it was too dangerous to continue. For us, it would have been better if we had previously known that the times were being recorded on the Iseran, but of course the organisation tries to continue as long as possible. We were riding a very good stage. We had deliberately kept Laurens with Steven; from the top of the Iseran it was still far to the final climb. I have seen a very strong team. We would have liked to make the difference today, but there will be another day tomorrow. It will be difficult to challenge Bernal, but we are still in the mix for the overall podium. Everything is still possible.”