Ramunas Navardauskas of Garmin-Sharp has won Stage 19 of the Tour de France in Bergerac after a crash late on in a rain-soaked stage ruled out riders including pre-stage favourite, Peter Sagan of Cannondale. Ahead of tomorrow’s individual time trial and the procession into Paris on Sunday, Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali leads the General Classification by 7 minutes 10 seconds from FDJ.fr’s Thibaut Pinot.
Navardauskas, aged 26, attacked on the Category 4 climb of the Côte de Monbazillac, crested 13 kilometres out, with a technical closing few kilometres as well as that crash enabling him to stay clear of the chasing peloton to take his first career Tour de France stage win.
Giant-Shimano’s John Degenkolb finished second on the 208.5 kilometre stage from Maubourguet Pays du Val d'Adour, winning the bunch sprint 7 seconds behind the stage winner from Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff.
The victory of Navardauskas, who took David Millar’s place in what would have been the Scot’s final participation in the Tour de France, was a team effort, with his colleague Tom Jelte Slagter the last survivor of what had been a five-man break, giving the Lithuanian someone to bridge across to when he attacked.
While the late crash held up a number of riders including Nibali, with it happening inside the final three kilometres of what was classified as a flat stage and with the main group all together behind the lone escapee Navardauskus, the riders in the main peloton were given the same time as the men who sprinted for second.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.