After stage 19 was canceled partway through, more extreme weather conditions today forced race organizers to decide to cut stage 20 from 130 kilometers to 59.5 kilometers with only the hors catègorie climb up to Val Thorens to tackle.
An unsurprisingly fast start saw Rosskopf attack off the front of the bunch as part of a 20-rider group that was able to bridge across to six early leaders just in time for the start of the 33.4-kilometer climb, which had an average gradient of 5.4 percent and pitches of over nine percent early on.
Almost as soon as the road began to rise, the breakaway split with Rosskopf sitting in the second group on the road which was ultimately caught by the yellow jersey group with just over 15 kilometers remaining and just six riders from the large breakaway left up the road.
In the end, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain – Merida) was the only rider from the front group able to hold off the yellow jersey, Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), and the rest of the General Classification contenders to take the stage win.
After being swept up by what was left of the main bunch, Rosskopf continued to ride his own pace up to the finish line before crossing as CCC Team’s best-placed rider, just over five minutes behind the eventual winner.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“To be honest, the beginning of the stage was kind of relaxed. I think it was the worst day for the breakaway to have a chance because more than half of the stage was uphill and it was a mountain-top finish so, there wasn’t really a lot of stress to get in the breakaway. When I saw some guys going, I thought I might as well follow. What else are the team and I going to do? It was fun to end on a good note by being in that move and do something to keep us a the front of the race. It was actually pretty enjoyable.”
“I am about to finish my first Tour de France and to be honest, I am feeling pretty dull at this point. It was like slow motion getting in the breakaway today. You just stand and barely accelerate because everyone is on their limit but, overall, I am happy to come through these three weeks and reach Paris.”
Tour de France
Stage 20: Albertville > Val Thorens (59.5km)
Top 3: 1. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain – Merida) 2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) 3. Mikel Landa (Movistar Team)
CCC Team Top 3: 35. Joey Rosskopf 69. Michael Schär 100. Greg Van Avermaet