Tour de France
Stage 19) Mourenx – Libourne
France Friday 16 July 2021 207 km
Tour de France: Ballerini animates the day
Davide Ballerini, one of Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s two Tour de France debutants, was again prominent as the race continued its journey to Paris. After playing a major role in Mark Cavendish’s victories and supporting Julian Alaphilippe in several breakaways, most recently a few days ago on the roads to Andorra, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner broke clear from the peloton 70 kilometers from the start and booked a place in the sizeable group that easily established a huge margin over the field.
The twenty men up the road worked well together until with 50 kilometers to go, when the skirmishes began as they all wanted to seize the moment and power clear from the group. Davide was one of the main instigators, valiantly attacking three times on the rolling roads to Libourne, but the other ones reacted to all these moves and pegged him back.
It was Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) who took advantage of all this, launching what proved to be the winning attack, while Ballerini concluded some two and a half minutes later, together with a small chasing group. Mark Cavendish came home together with the bunch and maintained the green jersey, which on Saturday he will wear for the 41st time in his career.
“It was very fast and warm from the beginning. The plan was to see what would happen after the intermediate sprint, and when the peloton fragmented and the speed went further up, we decided to make it in the front. I felt good and I tried several times to get a gap, but it wasn’t easy as the others jumped almost immediately after me. Then I began feeling all these efforts and couldn’t respond when the attacks continued. It didn’t pan out as we would have wanted today, but overall it has been a great experience for me here at the Tour and hopefully more good moments will come”, said Davide after the finish.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images