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Brussels sprouts a new winner? Tour de France 2019

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    [URL]https://twitter.com/letour/status/1155536161357684737?s=21[/URL]

    Quintana spending the whole time trying to get someone on one of the motorbikes to whip out a phone to take a photo.

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      Fine sprint from Caleb Ewan there, timed that perfectly.

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        Really pleased for Ewan. He always looked set to be a big part of the post Cav, Greipel, Kittel landscape. After some shaky seasons since he got on the World Tour, this has put him right near the top of the pile.

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          He's always been fast, he just always seemed to start his sprint too early. He seems to have learned about patience now.

          After he'd taken the Tour de Yorkshire leaders jersey in Harrogate a couple of years back I said "well done Caleb" to him. He looked at me, smiled and said "thanks" so I decided on that basis he seemed a decent chap. I've not seen anything to change that view.

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            That was an excellent edition of the Tour. Ideally it would have finished with a huge battle up Val Thorens and a French winner, but the route revisions probably kept it tighter on Friday and I don't think the extra climbs would have changed any of the racing yesterday.

            Bernal got the first Colombian win and the youngest winner since 1909 (assuming he is really 22, apparently the team think he could be anything up to 18 months older, it's amazing how many Colombian cyclists are born in January), there's been a couple of suggestions he might win as many as ten Tours. The team have got to be careful not to burn him out, there's a lot of riders who have had huge results in Grand Tours young, been expected to dominate for years and for various reasons haven't - Ullrich, Contador and Aschleck all spring to mind there. He's also not (yet) a great time triallist, the Tour organisers could give us an interesting contest next year if they could stick a pancake flat 50k time trial in the middle of the race and force Bernal to go and chase back the time he'd lose there. Who leads INEOS in France next summer is a fascinating question, they've now got three Tour winners, Carapaz (presumably) and Sivakov is developing nicely. Too early to seriously guess at it until we know about Froome's recovery and seen some race routes, but don't think it's completely impossible they'll send Bernal on the Giro / Vuelta programme and let Froome have a go at number five.

            Alaphilippe was the story of this race and I hope he doesn't start changing his approach and race programme in pursuit of winning the Tour. Apparently he's just been on French telly and said "I'd rather win two stages and fourteen days in yellow than finish third without doing anything". Good lad. Think we might get an Alaphilippe friendly route in a couple of years, something similar to this year, come down eastern France after they've started in Copenhagen, perhaps do Epernay again, avoid some of the really big climbs and epic mountain stages. They might need to give thought to how they work as a team if he is chasing GC, there were times when they didn't look coherent and more a bunch of blokes wearing the same jersey. Good that he got a trip to the podium for winning the Super Combativite prize.

            Anyway, it's been a great sporting summer what with this and the Cricket World Cup, now over to Wednesday to spoil it all next weekend.

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              Oh and seeing as ITV didn't show it, here's Movistar on the podium with their much sought after win in the team classification.

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                The true pinnacle of the sport.

                Alaphilippe tells French television that De Ronde will be his primary goal for 2020.

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                  Do we know who the gentleman in the wheelchair was who Alaphilippe went to after receiving his award and sobbed on the shoulder of? I've seen a tweet saying it was his father but he looked very much older, though it could be of course.

                  I've loved this year's race, even if it didn't have last year's winner and I didn't get out there. I really want to see a few stages again next year.

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                    A few mentions upthread that the curtailed stages might have cast a 'shadow' over Bernal's victory. I don't agree, but I'm surprised no-one's brought up the fact there was only one ITT this year, in which Thomas took over a minute off his co-leader.

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                      Yeah, that certainly made things a bit different, didn't it? I think the logic when the route was set up would have run, "There's no chance that Pinot can beat Froome, Dumoulin or Thomas - the top three from 2018 - when there are a lot of TT kilometres, so let's minimise them this year." Of course two of those riders ended up not starting and while the plan did allow the race's best climby GC rider to beat the race's best TTist GC rider, that meant Bernal ahead of Thomas.

                      But that's fine, Grand Tour organisers always try to throw encouragement to one type of rider over another. As long as they mix it up year on year.

                      Overcoming the variety of obstacles between editions to win four Tours is also one of the things that marks Froome out as an all-time great in my eyes.

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