Nibali clinches stage 20 of Tour de France, Bernal remains in yellow

Egan Bernal all but clinched victory in the Tour de France defending his overnight lead in the penultimate stage which left the Colombian only needing to cross the finish line on Sunday’s parade into Paris to win the 2019 edition.

The champion in waiting said he was so nervous on the climb he counted down the kilometres on the way up as defending champion Geraint Thomas ended the day in second overall, with Steven Kruijswijk in third.

The stage itself was won by Vincenzo Nibali who broke from the main contenders late in the final climb to win by 17sec at the line where he raised his finger to his lips, kissed it and raised it to the sky.

“I still have to get Paris but it’s incredible,” said the rider who is set to become the Tour’s youngest winner since Francois Faber in 1909.

“I’m a little calmer now,” added Bernal. “It’ll take a few days to realise what I have achieved. To be honest I was feeling good today, I kept thinking 5km, 4km, 3km one less, one less to go each time.

“When we got to the finish and Geraint held out his hand I realised it was over and I was going to win the Tour de France.”

Bernal and Thomas, co-captains at Team Ineos, crossed the winning line a few seconds ahead of their key rivals and smiled broadly at each other as they held hands in unity to mark the moment.

Julian Alaphilippe, who led for 14 days before cracking on Friday’s weather neutralised stage finished down the field to drop to fifth place overall.

Bernal, who is set to become Colombia’s first Tour winner, now leads Thomas by 1min 11sec and Jumbo-Visma’s Kruijswijk by 1min 31sec ahead of the processionary day of racing ending in the French capital.

Nibali, who won in 2014, came second on this year’s Giro d’Italia and while he looked wiped out early in the Tour was radiant when picking up a stage win late in the game.

“To win here is a great joy,” said Bahrain Merida’s captain.

Romain Bardet redeemed what had looked like a disastrous three weeks for him by rallying to win the ‘King of the Mountains’ polka dot jersey with two fine performances in th Alps.

Sunday’s final parade to Paris embarks late and is due to finish beneath the Arc de Triomphe.

Tour de France 2019 – stage 20 results (Albertville – Val Thorens):

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)


2 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


3 Mikel Landa (Movistar)


4 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)


5 Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)


6 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First)


7 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


8 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)


9 Wout Poels (Team Ineos)


10 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


11 Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic)


12 Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-hansgrohe)


13 Lennard Kämna (Team Sunweb)


14 Marc Soler (Movistar)


15 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


16 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


17 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin)


18 Elie Gesbert (Arkéa Samsic)


19 Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates)


20 Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)



Tour de France 2019 – general classification after stage 20:

1 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)


2 Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)


3 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)


4 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


5 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


6 Mikel Landa (Movistar)


7 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First)


8 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


9 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


10 Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic)


11 Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo)


12 Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert)


13 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)


14 Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)


15 Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)


16 Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data)


17 Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ)


18 Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates)


19 Alexey Lutsenko (Astana)


20 Jesus Herrada (Cofidis)



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