The final mountain stage of the Tour de France has been cut by 71km because of landslides. The pivotal stage 20 from Albertville will now be just 59km long. The final 33km will be the climb to Val Thorens.
Yesterday, a hailstorm and landslides forced race organisers ASO to stop Stage 19 midway through with times taken at the summit of what the riders had assumed was the penultimate climb of the Col de l'Iseran.
Team Ineos’s Colombian rider Egan Bernal crested around a minute ahead of defending champion and team-mate Geraint Thomas, and two minutes ahead of race leader Julian Alaphilippe of Deceuninck-Quick Step and in so doing took the yellow jersey.
Pictures emerged on social media of the aftermath of a landslide that blocked the road, while helicopter footage showed a snowplough clearing huge amounts of sludge from the final climb.
Stage 19 of @LeTour has been stopped before the final climb into Tignes due to extreme weather.
Commissaires ruled that times would be taken at the top of the Col de l'Iseran. There is no official stage winner however this means @eganbernal now has the yellow jersey.#TDF2019 pic.twitter.com/pkh21thDyJ
— ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 26, 2019
An announcement about today’s stage said: "Following difficult weather and landslides forecast for tomorrow [Saturday], the route of the 20th stage of the Tour de France has been modified."
The changes mean that riders will not have to tackle the category two Côte de Longefoy or the category one Cormet de Roselend.
That will leave 26km of flat riding along the valley to Moutiers and then the 33.4km climb to Val Thorens.
The stage will start from Albertville at 1.30pm BST, instead of 11.30am BST.
ASO said that no points would be available except those for the mountains classification on offer at the finish.