Denmark’s Soren Kragh Andersen claimed his second solo stage win of the Tour de France with a perfectly timed attack late in the 19th stage, an undulating 166.5 kilometre ride from Bourg en Bresse to Champagnole.
- The yellow jersey is Primoz Roglic’s to lose, he remains 57 seconds clear of fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar ahead of the Saturday time trial
- Australia’s Richie Porte is in fourth place overall
- A bee sting to the mouth triggered an allergic reaction in Austrian rider Lukas Postlberger, who was hospitalised as a result
The Sunweb rider, who also won the 14th stage in Lyon with an instinctive move in the finale, jumped away from a group of late breakaway riders to give his team their third stage win this year after Marc Hirschi’s victory on stage 12.
Despite the gap he put behind him the Dane could not believe he was that far ahead calling out at official for the time gap as he rode into the final kilometre.
“I was screaming can you confirm one minute I did not believe it.” Andersen said.
“Two wins I am speechless, I couldn’t dream of anything better.”
Slovenian Luka Mezgec took second place on Friday, and Belgian Jasper Stuyven finished third, both 53 seconds behind, as Primoz Roglic retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
Roglic leads fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar by 57 seconds going into Saturday’s decisive individual time trial, which should see the Jumbo Visma rider secure his maiden Tour title.
Australia’s Richie Porte remains in fourth place and is still a shot at the podium if he can take 1’39” off of Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez, on stage 19 both riders stayed in the main peloton.
In the race for the green sprinter’s jersey Ireland’s Sam Bennett did a good job at keeping triple world champion Peter Sagan at bay, even extending his lead in the points classification to 55 points from 52.
Bennett is hoping to become the first Irishman to win the green jersey since Sean Kelly in 1989 while Slovakian Sagan is looking to claim it for a record-extending eighth time.
France’s Remi Cavagna was the only early breakaway rider and the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, helped by a strong tailwind, opened a decent gap.
He was however caught by the bunch 50km from the finish and several attacks took place within the group of 12 riders, featuring top sprinters and one-day race specialists, who broke clear with 25km to go.
Australia’s Caleb Ewan was not part of that group but remains in fifth in the classification on 158 points.
Stung rider sent to hospital
As is often the case there have been plenty of hard luck stories in this year’s Tour but Austria’s Lukas Postlberger may have the roughest one yet.
Having ridden nearly 3,200 kilometres over four mountain ranges he was forced to abandon his Tour after a bee sting to the mouth.
The Austrian rider, who has devoted his Tour to helping team leader Sagan in his quest for the race’s green jersey, suffered an allergic reaction to the sting.
He was taken to the hospital but quickly recovered and “is already feeling better again,” his Bora-Hansgrohe team said.
The Tour was only a few minutes into the stage when the insect struck, Bora said it was a bee, race organisers said it was a wasp.
His withdrawal left the Tour with 146 riders, 30 fewer than when it started nearly three weeks ago.
The 28-year-old Postlberger was riding his third Tour. He also abandoned last year, on stage 18.