Stage 19 of the Tour de France 2023 is won by Matej Mohoric in a close race.
At the end of a tense day of racing, the Slovenian narrowly beat out Asgreen in a sprint for the finish line, preventing the American from winning back-to-back stages.
After waiting anxiously to find out who had won, a distraught Mohoric burst into tears upon learning that he had.
Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark is still comfortably ahead of Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia with two stages to go.
On Saturday, the Tour will return to the mountains before the final ceremonial ride into Paris on Sunday, where Adam Yates, a British rider, still sits in third place.
Stage 20 is ideal for the pure climbers, and it will determine who finishes third in the overall standings, joining Vingegaard and Pogacar.
Stage 19 was the penultimate opportunity for many riders and teams to try to clinch a stage victory through an escape before the sprinters battled it out on the Champs Elysees.
Chapter 19: The Real Thing
A fierce battle ensued along a rough 172.8 kilometer course that began at Moirans en Montagne and saw escape attempts begin almost immediately.
With 65 kilometers to go, a break of 36 riders formed, but they quickly split up on the day’s greatest climb, the category three Cote d’Ivory.
There, Asgreen, Mohoric, and Australian Ben O’Connor made another break for it. Asgreen had already won in a thrilling breakaway on Thursday.
With 6 kilometers to go, the next chase group had them in their sights on the straight road to the finish, but they were afraid of giving sprinter Jasper Philipsen a chance to win his sixth stage of this year’s Tour.
That left the top three riders to battle it out for the win, and when an early attack from O’Connor fell short, it was Mohoric who stuck with Asgreen and, in a last-ditch effort, threw his bike across the finish line first.
After the race, he remembered Bahrain-Victorious teammate Gino Mader, who was killed last month at the Tour de Suisse at the age of 26.
Professional cycling is grueling and unforgiving, therefore your support means a lot to me. To get ready for this, Mohoric stated, “you suffer a lot, you sacrifice your life, your family, and everything you can.”
Kasper’s onslaught yesterday was unfathomably powerful, and he has the drive and determination to repeat the feat tonight.
“I knew I had to do everything perfectly; I tried my best for Gino and for the team; and in the end you almost feel like you betray [your opponents] because you beat them to the line; but that’s just the way professional sports are; and everyone wants to win.
I have to stay on Kasper’s wheel and then try to pass him in the final 50 meters if I want to win. There are just so many emotions rushing through me.
Stage 19 results
1. Matej Mohoric (Slo/Bahrain Victorious) 3hrs 31min 2secs
2. Kasper Asgreen (Den/Soudal-Quick-Step) same time
3. Ben O’Connor (Aus/AG2R-Citroen) +4secs
4. Jasper Philipsen (Bel/Alpecin-Deceuninck) +39secs
5. Mads Pedersen (Den/Lidl-Trek) same time
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra/Jumbo-Visma) same time
7. Luka Mezgec (Slo/Jayco-AlUla) same time
8. Alberto Bettiol (Ita/EF Education-EasyPost) same time
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) same time
10. Tom Pidcock (GB/INEOS Grenadiers) same time
General classification after stage 19
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) 75hrs 49mins 24secs
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +7min 35secs
3. Adam Yates (GB/UAE Team Emirates) +10mins 45secs
4. Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spa/Ineos Grenadiers) +12mins 1sec
5. Simon Yates (GB/Team Jayco-AlUla) +12mins 19secs
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) +12mins 50secs
7. Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +13mins 50secs
8. Felix Gall (Aut/AG2R) +16mins 11secs
9. Sepp Kuss (US/Jumbo-Visma) +16mins 49secs
10. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +17mins 57secs