TdF Daily: flat out through the foothills of the Jura

Alberto Bettiol sprints to eighth after a whirlwind 19th stage

July 21, 2023

Stage 19 of the Tour de France was raced like a one-day classic.

The moment the flag dropped, attacks started to fly and they never let up until the finish, where Alberto Bettiol sprinted to eighth. He wanted to win today. We wanted to win today. And from Moirans-en-Montagne across the foothills of the Jura to Poligny we raced with grit and heart to do that.

It wasn’t enough. We pulled back a powerful group mid-way through the race and put Alberto and Neilson Powless in the front group heading into the last hour. But they missed the winning move when it went and Alberto couldn’t bring it back, though he rode flat-out with the best stage hunters at the Tour to give himself a chance.

Tomorrow is the final mountain stage of this Tour de France. It travels from Belfort to Le Markstein Fellering across the Vosges massif. And then we’ll race to the last meter in Paris.

Read our team’s thoughts from after today’s stage.

Alberto Bettiol

Today was hard, but the team played it really well. I was feeling not bad, but not good, so I just went full from kilometer zero. In the end, it was a little bit chaotic. I tried to stay in front, but unfortunately three guys went away and I found myself sprinting against Pedersen and Phillipsen and Laporte, so I did my maximum. For me, today was the hardest stage in the whole Tour, because we never stopped. Everybody is tired. I am happy I am still able to compete with the best riders in the Tour for the top ten, but again, this is thanks to the team, especially Neilson, who in the breakaway helped me with bottles and bars. It was teamwork.

Andrey Amador

I am destroyed. But bueno, we did everything to try to win the stage and we need to be proud. We did everything, and left it all on the road.

Neilson Powless

It was really hard. The peloton just split to pieces 25 kilometers in on a descent, and we had already been following moves for a while because we knew we wanted to be in the breakaway today, and I think we were all just trying to follow as much as we could. It was a super strong group that got away with nine guys without us in it. I started pulling as soon as they got away, but then fell back, because I didn’t know what the plan would be for the team from thereon, whether we wanted to pull or if someone else missed it. Later on, we ended up going up to the front to try to pull it back with a few other teams to try to keep the race alive. In the end, we did, pulling with Rigo, myself, and Amador, because we thought that Bettiol would probably have the best shot of us to win today and we wanted to do our best to support him. In the end, it was really tactical and a few guys got away early from the group that we were in and ended up making it to the line. I think we can be proud that we kept the race alive and gave ourselves a shot, but even if you race well as a team together, it doesn’t always work out the way you want. I think we did well with five riders.

DS Andreas Klier

Our riders as a group all showed today that they have the guts that you need to win a bike race. At the end of the day, we missed the move with Mohoric. It is what it is. To sprint against three of the fastest sprinters here doesn’t make sense. However, if you want to win, you first have to catch the first three, so that is what we tried. We tried to give it everything and then go a little bit easier in the last three kilometers in case a miracle would happen and the riders would get caught and Alberto could attack from behind, but obviously we are not in Disneyland and that didn’t happen. At the end of the day, we raced the race, which was super nice to see. We lost it in the middle. We caught them back and fought for it. We did a nice job there. And in the end we only got eighth, but that is not the point. I think the point is – do you have the guts or not? And they had the guts. Tomorrow is another stage and on the Champs Élyéeses, we are just going to give it another try, even if the chance is probably 0.01%, we are still going to grab that chance.

DS Juanma Garate

They raced really well. From kilometer zero, they were ready. In the end, we were basically all day long chasing and we had a group in front. Personally, I couldn’t believe that we could close that gap or just come close enough to come across, but we talked between the cars and they found a reason to do it and they did it and probably they believed more than me, and we made it across to reopen the race again and we had Alberto and Neilson up there. Obviously, we wanted to win that stage today, but it is never easy, especially when you look at the names we had in the final group. They were super high quality riders and it was super difficult. In the end, it was quite impressive what the three riders who made it to the finish today did, because they went from far and they kept a really high speed. If you look at the group behind, with the best riders in the world at this moment for these kinds of finales, they couldn’t close the gap. I am happy with what the riders did today, but obviously we wanted to win.

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