The 166-kilometer stage provided the last chance for a breakaway to go to the finish and after breakaway attempts involving Michael Schär and Alessandro De Marchi were neutralized, Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) attacked solo.
Cavagna’s lead never exceeded three minutes with the battle for the green jersey ensuring the sprinters’ teams controlled the race situation, graduating reducing the gap.
The intermediate sprint came with 49 kilometers to go with Cavagna taking maximum points and Trentin crossing the line in eighth place from the peloton, one minute behind.
Attacks from the bunch saw a small group catch Cavagna and behind, Van Avermaet jumped into a five-rider chase group but the peloton chased both groups down to hit the reset button with 30 kilometers to go.
The decisive moment came when Van Avermaet and six riders attacked while Trentin formed part of a five-rider chase group with the 12 riders eventually coming together at the front of the race.
With the gap to the peloton quickly growing to more than two-minutes, it was clear the stage win would come from the leading group which featured a strong combination of sprinters and rouleurs suited to the rolling terrain.
With riders starting to jump from the group, Trentin launched a move inside 15 kilometers to go which put the riders on the limit but it was the counter attack from Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) which proved to be the winning move with the Danish rider extending his lead to 45 seconds and holding on to take the win.
Van Avermaet was well positioned in the sprint for second place, settling for fourth place on the line while Trentin was just behind in tenth place.
The Tour de France wraps up with the only time trial of the race on stage 20 before the traditional circuit stage in Paris on Sunday.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I was happy to be in the move and go for the win. We were in a good group and it was a nice moment to attack I think. I think Matteo and I did a good race together. We tried to make the race hard and we were in the final together. Then, in the end, Matteo went full gas on the climb and everyone tried to catch his wheel and then the moment that it stopped there, Kragh Andersen took his chance and went alone. From that moment, I don’t think anyone could react. He directly took 20 or 30 seconds. We tried to chase but you could tell straight away it was not possible so we were racing for second.”
“I think we raced well. Greg was in the group and I came across. I launched an attack but it didn’t work out perfectly and we found ourselves in chasing mode. In the end, we tried to get away with a small group because it was a man to man marked situation by Sagan and Bennett for the green jersey. At the end, Greg was able to get a bit more freedom and he could get go away with a little group. It was a pity as we were in front ready to play for the victory.”
Tour de France
Stage 19 Bourg-en-Bresse > Champagnole (166.5km)
Top 3: 1. Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb), 2.Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT), 3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)
CCC Team top 3: 4. Greg Van Avermaet, 10. Matteo Trentin, 67. Michael Schär