13 Amazing Moments of the 2019 Tour de France

From nail-biting wins to stage-shortening hail storms and landslides, here are our favourite moments of the Tour this year.


Whit Yost |

And just like that, 2019 Tour de France is over. One of the most open, unpredictable, and exciting Tours that we can remember, it was filled with incredible moments. Here’s a list of our favourites.

1. Surprise Yellow for Teunissen After Teammate Crashes

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Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen was the favourite to win Stage 1 in Brussels and thus take the Tour’s first yellow jersey. But after the sprinter crashed inside the final kilometre, his team was forced to punt, with Mike Teunissen coming through to defeat BORA-hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan and Lotto Soudal’s Caleb Ewan to save the day for the Dutch team. Inspired by Teunissen’s quick-thinking and gutsy performance, the team dominated the team time trial on Stage 2, giving the Dutchman another day in yellow and the team a perfect start to the 2019 Tour.

2. Alaphilippe Attacks to Win Stage 3 and the Yellow Jersey

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Despite everyone expecting him to do it, Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Julian Alaphilippe attacked on the Category 3 Côte de Mutigny 16K from the finish of Stage 3, escaping alone to win the stage into Épernay and taking the first yellow jersey of the Frenchman’s career. Little did we know that this was just the beginning of an incredible Tour for the Frenchman.

3. Alaphilippe Loses Yellow; Thomas Surges

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Stage 6 was expected to shake up the Tour with lots of climbing and a steep summit finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles. The stage went to the remnants of the day’s big breakaway with Bahrain Merida’s Dylan Teuns grinding his way to the stage win on the steep gravel slopes at the top of the climb, but Trek-Segafredo’s Giulio Ciccone finished second on the day, holding-off the chasing group of Tour favourites (including Julian Alaphilippe) to take the yellow jersey. And while none of the Tour’s GC contenders used this stage to make a big move, the defending champ, Geraint Thomas of Team INEOS, surged away near the finish line, sending a message to everyone that despite a poor first half of the season, he was back and ready to defend his title.

4. De Gendt Wins a Nail-Biter; Alaphilippe Takes Back Yellow

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Justin Setterfield

Lotto-Soudal’s Thomas De Gendt is one of cycling’s best breakaway artists; the Belgian has a knack for picking the right day and the right moment for his winning moves. He was at his best on Stage 8 into Saint-Étienne, holding on to win the stage by a mere 6 seconds over Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe, who attacked near the top of the day’s final climb in a successful bid to take back the yellow jersey. By the end of the stage, De Gendt was smiling and Alaphilippe was back in yellow.

5. Crosswinds Wreak Havoc, While Wout Wins in Albi

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The Tour was expected to ease into its first rest day with an easy trip into Albi, but crosswinds blew the race apart in the final hour of the stage, causing prerace favourites like Thibaut Pinot, EF Education First’s Rigoberto Uran, and Trek-Segafredo’s Richie Porte to lose 1:40. Stage 10 was won by Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert, the three-time world cyclocross champion who was racing his first Tour de France. Sadly, van Aert crashed out of the Tour a few days later, putting a premature end to his incredible Tour debut.

6. Alaphilippe Scorches Pau Time Trial

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Still wearing the yellow jersey, Julian Alaphilippe shocked everyone on Stage 13, winning the 27K individual time trial in Pau, extending his lead on the Tour’s General Classification. Alaphilippe is by no means a terrible time trialist, and many thought the Frenchman would ride well enough to defend his lead. But win the stage? Few expected such a result, let alone one against riders like Team INEOS’s Geraint Thomas, the defending Tour champion.

7. Pinot Triumphs on the Tourmalet While Alaphilippe Hangs Tough

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Used as a summit finish for only the third time in Tour history, the Col du Tourmalet did not disappoint. Thibaut Pinot escaped near the summit to win Stage 14 (which his General Manager, Marc Madiot, clearly enjoyed), but once again the real story was Julian Alaphilippe who – a day after riding the time trial of his life – miraculously defended the yellow jersey, hanging with the Tour’s of pre-race favourites and looking like a bona fide contender.

8. Alaphilippe Cracks (a Bit) As Pinot Surges

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On the Prat d’Albis outside of Foix, Julian Alaphilippe finally began to crack. Dropped a few kilometres from the top of the climb, the yellow jersey struggled to stay with the leaders after Thibaut Pinot attacked. In the end, Alaphilippe held onto the jersey and Pinot finished second on the stage, gaining time on all his rivals – especially Geraint Thomas. Two weeks into the Tour, with Alaphilippe leading and Pinot in the form of his life, the French were beginning to dream about seeing the first French winner since Bernard Hinault won his fifth and final Tour in 1985.

9. Rowe and Martin Kicked Out of Race

One day before the Alpine showdown that would decide the Tour, Team INEOS’s Luke Rowe and Jumbo-Visma’s Tony Martin were kicked out of the Tour for an altercation near the end of Stage 17. The two quickly got together and filmed an apology, saying the heat of the stage and the moment got the better of them. But it wasn’t enough to change the minds of the officials.

10. Alaphilippe Guts It Out on the Galibier

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Many expected Julian Alaphilippe to get dropped on the Col du Galibier, the final climb of Stage 18. And he did, but not far enough from the summit to see him lose his lead. In fact, Alaphilippe re-joined the group of the contenders on the long descent into Valloire, defending the yellow jersey and living to fight another day as the leader of the Tour.

11. Bernal Attacks, Alaphilippe Cracks, and Landslides Ruin the Stage

Stage 19 was easily the most dramatic of the Tour, beginning with the surprise abandonment of Thibaut Pinot. The Frenchman started the day in fifth place overall, but stepped into his team car early in the stage, unable to overcome the effects of a mysterious thigh injury he sustained the day before. The day’s big climb was the Col d’Iseran, the highest paved pass in the Alps and the highest point in the 2019 Tour.

The climb quickly whittled down the group of favourites, with Julian Alaphilippe the first to crack. Egan Bernal then attacked, sensing a chance to seize control of the race, and going away alone. Then things got really weird as the rest of the stage was canceled due to hail storms and landslides. No stage winner was declared, but times were taken at the summit of the Iseran, which meant Bernal was the new leader of the Tour.

12. Nibali Wins Final (Shortened) Mountain Stage

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More landslides meant that Stage 20, the final stage in the Alps, was shortened as well, with the stage essentially becoming a 59K mass start hill climb to Val Thorens. Bahrain Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali (who left last year’s race after being knocked off his bike by a fan) broke away early, holding off the Tour’s GC leaders to win his first stage since the Italian won the Tour back in 2014. A few seconds later, Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas finished hand-in-hand for Team INEOS, all but wrapping up Bernal’s victory and the team’s seventh in the last eight years.

13. Ewan the Stage, Egan the Tour

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Caleb Ewan joined Lotto-Soudal this past off-season because he wanted a chance to ride the Tour after failing to make the Tour roster at Mitchelton-Scott last season. Well, the 25-year-old Australian made the most of his opportunity, winning three stages, including the final stage on the Champs-Élysées, seemingly coming out of nowhere to take his most impressive win of the Tour. Behind him, Egan Bernal crossed the finish line as the first from Colombia and, at 22, the second youngest in race history. BORA-hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan only finished tenth on the stage, but the Slovak also made history by winning his seventh green jersey, a new record.

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