Telefónica-backed squad claims sixth team GC victory -fourth in five years- and a stage win + 2-3 in Val Thorens, as several incidents keep the Blues from improving Mikel Landa’s eventual 6th place overall
The 2019 Tour de France took its curtains down on Sunday with a sensational victory for young Colombian Egan Bernal (INS) in the overall classification, ahead of Geraint Thomas (INS, 2nd) and Steven Kruijswijk (TJV, 3rd). The prestigious sprint in the Champs-Élysées (128 km) saw Australian Caleb Ewan (LTS) notching up the winal fin of the race.
The Movistar Team completed its 37th appearance in in the French grandtour with the sweet taste of stepping onto the final podium in Paris –winners of the teams’ classification for the sixth time, fourth in five years- and also claiming one stage victory -with Nairo Quintana, in Valloire-. On the other hand, the Blues’ courage and consistency in the mountains weren’t rewarded with an overall result better than the 6th place obtained by Mikel Landa, always with the top climbers in the race, yet hampered by the results in both TTs and, most importantely, a crash towards Albi (st. 10) which made him concede a decisive two minutes and nine seconds.
The squad managed by Eusebio Unzué, whose visit to the Paris podium tonight marks a fourth consecutive team GC triumph in Grand Tours (always up there since the 2018 TDF), found a remarkable contribution to the team’s results in the efforts of Andrey Amador, Marc Soler, Nelson Oliveira, Imanol Erviti and debutant Carlos Verona, all of them reaching the last finish line alongside Alejandro Valverde, 9th overall – just nine months before turning 40 years old.
in every TDF start, we were so excited to get the race going, and already since
the first mountain stage our team showed it was going to be combative and
really give our rivals a run for their money, especially in our terrain. At La
Planche des Belles Filles, we understood Mikel felt really great and could be
able to match the top contenders. Sadly, after the Massif Central we
encountered what we never would wish to find: a crash, which made him
concede more than two minutes and took him out of an equal position to fight
against the five best riders in this Tour toe-to-toe. The disadvantage imposed
by the crash, combined with the time losses at the TTs, made us enter the
Pyrenees with a need for attacks which we could turn the tables in our favour
“At the Tourmalet, we reconfirmed Mikel was on par with the strongest climbers, even if not superior to them, and at Prat d’Albis, with great help from the whole team all day -especially from Marc and Andrey after the Mur de Péguère-, Mikel made us conceive a possibility to make up some, if not all, of that gap against the top riders. And so we entered the final week: knowing that he was up there with the best, but unable to fight with his rivals in an equal situation because of those margins.
“During the second half of the race we saw Jumbo-Visma, Bora, INEOS and Groupama keeping under control all those moves the Deceuninck squad weren’t sorting out themselves. At the Alps, the team’s big effort allowed us carrying out some of the strategies we wanted to develop to help Mikel out. We found some reward to all of those efforts with Nairo’s victory, one achieved in his usual style, with all of the class he’s able to deploy on the road. Sadly, you know what happened last Friday -it was awful for our chances, and it somewhat blurred, overshadowed what the Tour finale could have been-, and yesterday in Val Thorens we were left with a bitter taste of a near-victory we came just short for in the last few meters – though we must admit Nibali really deserved to win that one.
“Those ahead of us in the GC have
really earned that, they were stronger than us, that’s the reality. We leave
this Tour with a great stage victory, that close call with Alejandro yesterday
-it would have been a sensational success, and an emotional moment for him
at nearly 40 years old- and that team GC, which is a reward to all team members
as we’re again able to enjoy the Paris podium with them.”