Egan Bernal took the Tour de France yellow jersey from Julian Alaphilippe as a hailstorm and reported landslides forced stage 19 to be stopped before the final climbing into Tignes
The most dramatic mountain stage yet in the 2019 Tour de France ended in chaos when race organisers were forced to abandon the schemed finish at Tignes because of a combination of hail, flooding and landslides, as Egan Bernal moved into the yellow jersey.
As the Colombian rode clear towards a likely stage victory and the maillot jaune , having eventually distanced the long-term race leader, Julian Alaphilippe, severe climate on the long and rapid descent of the Col de l’Iseran caused the stage to be stopped.
While Bernal and Simon Yates plummeted down the Iseran climb, with Geraint Thomas in a seek group that included their contenders Steven Kruijswijk and Emmanuel Buchmann, images of the adverse conditions filled Tv screens across France.
The race was immediately neutralised and the rest of the stage aborted with five kilometres of hail, flooding and mudslides rendering the route towards Tignes too dangerous to race. The time gaps at the summit of the giant Col de l’Iseran, which the Colombian intersected first, were then reflected in the overall standings, with Bernal awarded the race lead.
” There was no way through ,” the Tour director, Christian Prudhomme, said.” They could not pass that .”
After the flood water receded, the results showed that Bernal results Alaphilippe by 48 seconds and his Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas by 1min 16 sec.
Eventually presented with the yellow jersey at the schemed finish in Tignes, the Colombian bowed his head and wept.