Six men have 2019 Tour de France title within reach
Jul 22 2019 09:41 pm CET

Six men have 2019 Tour de France title within reach
Six men have 2019 Tour de France title within reach
Tour de France

The 2019 Tour de France has so far been one of the most exciting and unpredictable of the last years. At the second rest day and with one week to go of competition, several riders still have a shot at the title of the race.

By the second rest day of the 2018 French grand tour, it was clear that Ineos was controlling the race and that Geraint Thomas was the most likely candidate to win the grand tour and if he would have failed, Chris Froome was only one minute and 39 seconds behind. This year, the scenario is completely different and there isn't one team that controls the race like Ineos/Sky did in the past.

Let's take a look at the men that still have a shot -even if it's a long one- to step on the highest spot of the podium in Paris.

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

The Frenchman took the Yellow Jersey on the eighth stage of the race after making a late move with Thibaut Pinot and crossing the finish line in the third position. He has been doing a great job defending his lead by staying with the favourites' group for most of the climbs and winning the individual time trial.

The weaknesses of the rider lie in all the energy that he has spent and that was evident at the end of the 15th stage, where he had trouble keeping up with the rest. Although he managed to defend the Yellow Jersey, he lost more than half a minute to Thomas and showed to have trouble keeping up with the climbers, and he also has the problem of lacking good support by his team in the more challenging moments.

Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)

The winner of the 2018 Tour de France sits in the second position of the overall classification at one minute and 35 seconds from Alaphilippe. The rider has been able to defend his position so far by avoiding any time losses at the climbing moments and delivering an outstanding performance in the fight against the clock.

Although on the Tourmalet the rider seemed to have trouble staying with the other favourites, at the last climb of the 15th stage his legs seemed to be better and he paced himself to the finish line, remaining in the same GC position. He and Ineos claim that they want to have two cards to play for the final victory, but it is still to see whether having technically one less man to support him in the Alps will make a difference to his intentions of defending his title.

Steven Kruisjwijk (Jumbo-Visma)

The Dutchman already knows what it's like to be in a good GC position in a grand tour as he held the Pink Jersey of the 2016 Giro d'Italia from the 14th to the 18th stage, but a crash at the 19th stage finished his dream. Now Kruisjwijk has another shot at a podium position and even the overall win.

The rider has been able to hold the pace of the rest of the favourites most of the time, did a good time trial and has the big advantage of enjoying a strong support by his teammates. In the Pyrenees it has been common to see him with two of his teammates -Laurens De Plus and George Bennett- in moments when most of the favourites were already by themselves.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

If the Frenchman wouldn't have been caught in the back group after the crosswinds of the tenth stage, by now he would be the favourite to take the overall win. The determination and good shape of the rider have taken him from the 11th GC position to the fourth after the 15th stage, where he is at one minute and 50 seconds from Alaphilippe.

Pinot often has the company of David Gaudu, who sets a high pace to make a selection in the group and prepare the moment for his leader to strike. In the last two days in the Pyrenees, he has shown an aggressive style that very few are able to hold, and if he keeps it for the third week, he could very well become the first Frenchman in 34 years to win the race.

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)

The leader of the Young rider classification has shown a constant form in the race, being in the right places in the flat stages and keeping the pace with the favourites in the mountains. Bernal has shown to be very loyal to the team and Geraint Thomas and has done teamwork as much as possible.

With the green light of Thomas to ride his own race, the rider has followed attacks of strong riders like Pinot and kept a steady pace to minimize the losses whenever it has been necessary. Although he seemed to be at the limit in the last stage before the second rest day, the rider has shown to be strong enough to keep the pace in the mountains, despite his lack of experience in the race and his young age -he is only 22.

Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)

The German has done a lot of work quietly and has put himself in an ideal position ahead of the last week of racing. He has had a good 2019 so far with podium positions in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Criterium du Dauphine and the shape remains there until the last rest day.

The rider has followed all the attacks from other favourites and doesn't seem to suffer much on the climbs. If in the Alps he manages to keep a good pace and maybe even launch attacks to take advantage of the tiredness of the others and his seemingly fresh legs, he could become the first German in 22 years to win La Grande Boucle.




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