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On Sunday, July 28, 2019, the best ever Tour de France culminated in Paris.

What made this Tour the best ever?

First, there were surprises every day, one of them being the big name riders abandoning throughout the Tour from the early stages to the closing ones.

Secondly, the Tour organisers arranged very difficult stages, very different to previous tours. Commentators said these were designed to propel France’s Romain Bardet into yellow. Oh, well. At least he finished as King of the Mountains.

Thirdly, a severe weather event pushed France’s Julian Alaphilippe out of the yellow jersey (maillot jaune) after 14 days in succession. His chances of winning the Tour were very good, until Stage 19 on Friday, July 26:

That day, ITV4’s Gary Imlach, commentating, outlined the route and said something about the stage expecting to be completed, barring an ‘act of God’.

This is what the finish line looked like in the Alpine town of Tignes that day:

The Col d’Iseran was scheduled to be the penultimate climb that day. It was exciting stuff.

Team INEOS are the former Team Sky, by the way. Chris Froome was not among their number this year because of injury. Here we see last year’s Tour winner Geraint Thomas go on the attack on the climb to the Col d’Iseran:

The top riders began their descent:

Then, disaster struck around the finish line. Gary Imlach’s aforementioned ‘act of God’ actually happened! Imlach apologised the next day!

We watched this unfold on ITV4. It was just incredible.

Tour officials took the decision to make the Col d’Iseran result their final one for that stage:

That clearly put Egan Bernal in the yellow jersey:

We were amazed. Egan Bernal wore the white jersey as best young rider. He’s only 22. This was his very first Tour de France, which is gruelling, to say the least, for the most experienced riders.

He received the yellow jersey later that day:

Team mate and four-time Tour winner Chris Froome had this to say about the young Colombian:

Saturday’s Stage 20 ending in Val Thorens was shortened — and made more difficult (mostly climbs) — because of the severe weather conditions:

The ‘Devil’ didn’t miss it. He has been on all the Tour stages since 1993!

Vincenzo Nibali won the stage, but Egan Bernal held on to the yellow jersey. Geraint Thomas was in second overall, with Julian Alaphilippe in third:

And that is how history was made. Egan Bernal, the Tour’s first Colombian winner — and one of the youngest winners overall:

These were the overall winners:

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won the overall Combativity Award:

Sunday’s closing stage in Paris was as iconic as ever:

Colombians were out in force in Rambouillet, the starting point:

This was Team INEOS’s champagne moment. Peter Sagan (Team Bora-Hansgrohe) had a bit of fun with them:

Personally, I thought the stage started too late in the day. Whilst the riders had sunglasses, the sunset must have been a distraction, even if it looks good for the City of Paris with regard to tourism:

Colombians, including Egan Bernal’s family, waited at the finish line:

We were delighted that Lotto Soudal’s Caleb Ewan won the stage. To win that stage in Paris is what every Tour rider dreams of — and this was his first ever Tour:

Then, it was time for the podium presentations.

First, Bernal greeted his family:

This must have been the happiest moment of his life thus far:

Steven Kruijswijk came in third overall:

Here’s Romain Bardet (Team AG2R La Mondiale) getting his King of the Mountains jersey:

Can’t wait for next year, especially since the Tour will start in Nice:

Until then, I am delighted for Egan Bernal — and for Team INEOS.

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