What started out bad for the French, only got worse. The real animator in the race, Thibault Pinot, abandoned due to an issue with his thigh. It was sad watching him lose time, and then eventually climb off in tears. This was probably his best chance of winning, especially with the form he was in, and the race being wide open for the first time in years. But then things got worse as the old one-two from Ineos put Alaphilippe into trouble. G went first, and then Bernal went, and it was the young Colombian who opened a 2 minute gap by the top of the L’Iseran. You would put money on Alaphilippe getting some of that time back on a descent but he did not seem to be making inroads into Bernals lead, plus with teh climb to Tignes still to come you could see that Alaphilippe was likely going to lose a bucket of time. But in the end it was a moot point. The road to Tignes was rendered impassible due to a storm, with apparent mudslides, so the race organisation were forced to abandon the stage and declare the summit of the L’Iseran as the finish. This is the first time in the tours history that a stage has had to be abandoned. Once in 1996 Barne Riis won a shorted stage, but that was the only other time a stage was shortened. This means that Bernal gets his first stage win (not), although without being able to celebrate it, but he also wiped out Alaphilippes lead, and put time into Thomas, giving him the Yellow Jersey, which I doubt he will lose before Paris. But it should make for an exciting stage tomorrow night to Val Thorens, as long as it doesn’t snow…
I just heard that no stage winner was given for the stage, so they effectively robbed Bernal of a possible stage win, but what else could the organisers do?
July 26th has been a national day of mourning in France.
However in the tipping comp we can’t let a nullified stage result stop us. So I went with the provisional results over the top of the L’Iseran to calculate today’s points. They may not have been totally correct, although you would hope they were with a lot of mountain points on offer. As it turned out, it made no difference to the top 5 positions, with Italian Chris hanging on. Big mover into the top 20 was marker, up 11 to hit 20th spot. Big mover today was Chuck Charity 1 up 78 places. At the bottom Rusty Dog snatches the Lantern Rouge spot with Puffy moving up 10 places for some inexplicable reason.