Published on : 07/21/2023
In a stage as unbridled as the one he won just over a week ago, Ion Izagirre was part of the breakaway for half the day. Tomorrow, there are six difficulties to climb, the final opportunity for Guillaume Martin to aim for a place of honour in the overall classification.
They all wanted to repeat Ion Izagirre's feat! In many ways, this 19th stage between Moirans-en-Montagne and Poligny (172.8 km) resembled the one won by the Basque just over a week ago in Belleville-en-Beaujolais. And with good reason: these two stages both featured the same unbridled scenario, the same difficulty in forming a breakaway and endless twists and turns. On several occasions, riders even tried their luck alone with 30 and 20 km to go, in a bid to repeat Ion's master stroke, but this time without success.
The Basque rider was no stranger to these manoeuvres, as he was also part of the breakaway. Axel Zingle tried his luck at the start of the stage, followed by Bryan Coquard, who inserted himself between the peloton and the frontrunners, but in the end it was Ion who managed to pull off the day's "coup", before being slightly distanced in the last twenty kilometers and finishing in 23rd place, 1'43 sec behind the winner.
The final explanation
Tomorrow, it's the turn of the big guns to do battle once again. The stage between Belfort and Markstein promises to be a Dantean affair, with six difficulties to climb (3 2nd category, 2 1st category) on a very short stage (133.5 km). It will take courage to resist this repetition of effort. This is where the overall classification will be decided one last time.
Guillaume Martin, who still has his sights set on a place in the top 10, knows better than anyone that the destiny of his Tour de France could change tomorrow. It's a tall order: the Normandy native is just under five minutes behind the top ten. Even if the challenge is considerable, he will do his utmost to give it his all before savouring the finish on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday.
Guillaume Martin: "I'm feeling motivated for tomorrow, because the Tour really isn't over yet. There's still a great opportunity. It's going to be a short stage, but really competitive and intense from start to finish. There won't be any dead time, and we'll have to be there physically from the start. I'm ready to give it everything I've got to get something out of tomorrow and get into the top 10 overall.
Bingen Fernadez, sports director: "Tomorrow's stage will be short and tough. The last part of the stage will be a battle for the overall classification, because apart from the two frontrunners, the "top 10" are all within a handful of each other. There's going to be a lot of fighting tomorrow. There will be two battles, the one for the overall and the one for the stage win; it's going to be lively".