Jasper Stuyven took a hard-fought podium from a late breakaway on Stage 19 of the Tour de France. Richie Porte remains 4th on GC.
Many, including director Kim Andersen, predicted that it would be a day for the breakaway, and after the finish he was keen to point out that his prediction was technically correct. However, it was not a typical ‘breakaway stage’. Rémi Cavagna took off solo for the first 100 kilometers of the race. Inside the closing 50km, attacks came from riders looking to take the stage honors. Then, with 25km remaining, Stuyven made it into an elite breakaway along with a host of sprint and classics stars. To make matters more complicated, it wasn’t just the stage up for grabs. A few riders present had a strong interest in contesting the Green Jersey competition, which added another element to the collaboration of the leading group.
“It was annoying because they were fighting more for the Green Jersey than riding for the win. There were quite some teams with two in front and they played it well, so I had to gamble a bit. It was quite an annoying final but that’s how it is.”
Søren Kragh Andersen attacked from the leading group with 16km remaining and quickly gained an advantage. Behind, the chasers were looking at one another to bring him back. A few kilometers later, Stuyven tried to bridge across but was brought back by the group, though they were still unable to collaborate effectively to bring back the lone leader, who went on to win.
“I think Kragh Andersen went at a really good moment and he also showed that maybe he was the strongest. It’s annoying when there’s not really cooperation behind with such a nice group,” revealed a frustrated Stuyven after the finish.
A podium finish at the Tour is still a big achievement, and the chasing group fully fought for the remaining top positions. After recovering from the effort, an exhausted Stuyven explained how the last kilometers played out from inside the group: “I don’t really call that a sprint. Kragh Andersen was in front and with 2km to go I closed the gap on Greg van Avermaet and Luke Rowe, then we were 6 together. Nikias [Arndt] and Luka Mezgec came from behind with 500 metres to go and I was a bit surprised, so I actually decided to start my sprint there. I think I did a really good sprint, but it was only for third place in the end.”
This result is Stuyven’s 6th top-10 finish of the Tour, and Trek-Segafredo’s 19th. Not a bad run, if you ask us.