Romain Bardet stays upright – Chris Froome doesn’t

2016 Tour de France, Stage 19

The only thing falling harder than the rain was the riders. Grand Tour cycling is athletically and mentally tough, but the possibility of crashing is an additional brutality that occasionally rises to unwelcome prominence.

Chris Froome was one who fell, his front wheel apparently growing weary of traction. It would take too long to list everyone else who hit the deck.

Rather than hotfooting it up the slope like some kind of bipedal yellow deer like he normally does, Froome instead borrowed a bike off Geraint Thomas. Thomas said that the team car drove straight past him shortly afterwards as he stood in the road, awaiting his own replacement. Maybe they mistook him for a full kit wanker fan.

Romain Bardet is someone seemingly unconcerned by the prospect of downhill death. Last year he took stage 18 after courting it. This year he did something similar, only in the wet. At the finish, the French went mental. He was the first local to win a stage this year. It worked well for him though. He’s up to second overall.

Froome finished 36 seconds later and was about ten seconds behind several of his rivals. Nothing serious really, but he’ll probably be checking tomorrow’s weather forecast.

Bad day for Bauke

Bauke Mollema had been in second place at the start. He finished the day tenth. The Dutchman crashed at a roundabout and at another point went so wide on a bend that he was heading into the woods. He lost about four minutes. It was a bit of a disaster really.

Here’s the top ten


Stage 20

Final general classification stage of the race. They’re going out with a hellish slog and a mad drop towards the line.

Delicacies of this region are still all that cheese-based stuff from the last couple of days. They haven’t actually gone anywhere this week. They’ve just been winding round and round in circles.

2016 Tour de France, Stage 20