Egan Bernal is set to become the first Colombian to win the Tour de France on Sunday, in a Team INEOS one-two after Julian Alaphilippe suffered during a shortened penultimate stage.
The 22-year-old took the yellow jersey from Alaphilippe in bizarre circumstances on Friday, when stage 19 was brought to a premature end in the Alps due to a hail storm and severe mudslides on the descent of the Col de l’Iseran.
Bernal started the last competitive day of racing - shortened to only 59.5 kilometres due to more concerns over the weather - with a 45-second lead over Frenchman Alaphilippe.
Alaphilippe cracked 13km from the finish on a brutal, long climb to the finish in Val Thorens, where Bernal got the job done in his first day in the yellow jersey and Vincenzo Nibali claimed a breakaway stage win.
His INEOS colleague Geraint Thomas, last year’s winner, took enough time out of Alaphilippe to ensure the team will take the top two steps on the podium.
Jumbo-Visma’s Steven Kruijswijk will take third spot in the general classification – his first top-three finish in a Grand Tour race – after a weary Alaphilippe dropped to fifth behind Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The powerful Bernal will start the 128km procession from Rambouillet to Paris on Sunday with an advantage of 71 seconds over Thomas, who put his arm around his teammate as they crossed the line in fifth and fourth place respectively at the end of a lung-busting last climb.
Romain Bardet gave the host nation some consolation by taking the polka dot jersey from Bernal, but the 34-year wait for a French Tour champion goes on.
Nibali, the champion of 2014, showed great staying power to take the stage win after hitting the front on his own with 12km to go and holding off Alejandro Valverde by 10 seconds.
Bernal finished only 17 seconds later along with Thomas as INEOS celebrated a first victory at the most prestigious cycling race in the world, just four months after becoming the new title sponsor of the outfit that won six of the previous seven editions as Team Sky.
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) 1:51:53
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) + 00:10
3. Mikel Landa (Movistar) + 00:14
4. Egan Bernal (INEOS) + 00:17
5. Geraint Thomas (INEOS) + 00:17
1. Egan Bernal (INEOS) 79:52:52
2. Geraint Thomas (INEOS) +1:11
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:31
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 309
2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 224
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) 203
King of the Mountains
1. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 86
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS) 78
3. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 74
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