Perry’s Tour diary: Stage 19 – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes… sort of

Well, where to start? Not much to talk about really is there?

We were watching it and we couldn’t believe what had happened. That said, an hour before that we had a terrible thunderstorm in Tignes and it got quite dark. I looked behind me and a mountain I could see five minutes previously had totally disappeared and then the clouds rose it was covered in white. I thought holy shit, it’s been snowing! That was about an hour before the stage was cancelled.

As they were descending Col d”Iseran it was obvious there was no way they could ride through that; they had to cancel it really. There was a digger trying to get rid of the snow and hail and then we saw the landslide.

I think with the lead Egan Bernal has now got, the yellow Jersey is pretty safe on his shoulders. Maybe it’s not the most perfect way to win it, and his celebrations were rather muted. The crowd was relatively quiet at the finish line too but the Colombians fans were going mad of course!

He’s so strong and he really went for it on the Iseran and you wonder if that was a tactic beforehand. Was Geraint going to catch him on the descent – which was a bloody long descent by the way – and then work together? We’ll just never know now because there’s a bit of the excitement at the end of the stage which we’ve missed out on. It was a bit like watching a movie and there being a power cut 10 minutes before the end, or reading a novel and finding out someone has torn out the last 10 pages.

It’s a shortened stage tomorrow, so it will have to be full gas if anyone is going to salvage anything. You never know what’s going to happen to Bernal, he might have a mechanical. Or Kruijswijk might feel strong. It should be a very exciting stage because there’s an infinite amount of things that could happen.

It was a terrible day for Thibaut Pinot. Apparently the injury happened a couple of days ago – he’s torn his quad. He shouldn’t have been racing really, he should have been concentrating on what is a nasty injury. It was quite obvious he was going to drop out because none of his team came back for him.

The French have had an amazing Tour de France so far but it’s just sad the way it’s worked out. Alaphilippe on the descent of the Iseran was still going for it though, he hadn’t given up. He probably would have lost more time on the climb up to Tignes but he’s been a pleasure to watch. Watching him ride about 5km from the top I thought ‘he should be in another team’.

He’s done all this without any climbing domestiqes around him, apart from Enric Mas who has been ill. How amazing is that? It’s ridiculous what he’s done but he should be in another team. Mas is leaving at the end of the year but who are they going to get to look after him? He’s a definite Grand Tour rider now and he’d be better than most of the others with a fully fledged GC team around him.

He has lit up the Tour so much. It hasn’t been raced like a usual three-week Grand Tour; it’s been raced like a series of one-day races just because he’s been in the yellow jersey. It’s been a real wonder to watch. We know he can win the Classics but let’s see him win a Grand Tour!

I doff my cap to him!

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