SAINT-GERVAIS LES BAINS, France (AFP) - Romain Bardet won the 19th stage of the Tour de France on Friday (July 22) as Chris Froome survived a dramatic crash to maintain his race lead.
Bardet won his second Tour stage following one last year, the first for a Frenchman this year, and moved up to second overall on a highly successful day.
Froome crashed on a slippery descent and needed to take team-mate Geraint Thomas’s bike to continue, but recovered to stick with the group of favourites and limit his losses to a handful of seconds.
He even extended his overall lead by 19sec.
The big loser was Dutchman Bauke Mollema who started the day second but dropped to 10th overall after coming home more than 3min 30sec after Bardet after crashing once and skidding off the road a second time in rainy conditions.
Joaquim Rodriguez won the sprint for second on the 146km Alpine stage from Albertville to Saint Gervais Mont Blanc, 23sec behind Bardet.
Alejandro Valverde took third ahead of South African Louis Meintjes, while Nairo Quintana, who was fifth at 26sec, moved up to third overall at 4:27.
Young Briton Adam Yates struggled on the final climb and lost time, dropping to fourth overall from third as the battle for the minor placings took a dramatic turn.
Australian Richie Porte, who had been climbing so well all Tour, attacked several times on the steep final climb but cracked in the final kilometre and finished 10th, 53sec behind Bardet.
Despite falling around 20km from the finish and riding on a team-mates bike, Froome finished only 36sec behind Bardet and averted any serious threat to his overall lead, which he actually extended to 4:11 due to Mollema’s troubles.