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Tour: Bardet Turns France's Tour Around; Chaos on the Alpine Roads

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Mollema and Yates lost their podium positions on a dramatic Alpine day.

Le Tour de France 2016 - Stage Nineteen Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

It looked like just another mountain stage of the Tour de France when the penultimate climb was summited. A team was putting on an infernal pace, Chris Froome was in no trouble, and there was a strong climber up the road. However, all that would soon shatter on the descent of the Montée du Bisanne and the Côte de Domancy, as the rain began to come down, and the riders began to slip on wet white lines. Richie Porte was the first to suffer a mishap, having to drop back. His team paced him back on, but the Australian did not get away without expending energy. Then, it was Bauke Mollema with problems — he yo-yoed from the front of the group to the back, seemingly going down twice. He would never get back on. Drama would also be reserved for the race leader, who crashed late on the descent, taking Geraint Thomas' bike in a frenzy, and getting back on. Considering Thomas' bike is set up very differently to Froome's — the chainring's a pretty important part — he was never going to be comfortable on the steep slopes of the Saint Gervais climb.

The first to reach those slopes would be Ruí Costa, the only remnant of the break, but he never had a chance as he was being pursued all the way by Romain Bardet, who had not let up when attacking on the dangerous descent, and caught him early on. Bardet surged ahead, but was originally looking to be losing time to the GC group, who were putting pressure on the front, but not attacking Froome as they were worried about maintaining their own GC positions. Froome hung around the back of the group for a while accompanied by his team mate Wout Poels, but soon enough, he was back at the front. Dan Martin was the first of the group to make a move, but much like on Wednesday, only made twenty metres' advantage before being pulled back. Other than that, Richie Porte and Fabio Aru had a go, and Valverde went to to front, but no real moves were made on Froome.

The group slowed down after catching Martin, which gave Bardet all the advantage he needed to get to the top of the climb first. It's his second stage of the Tour de France in two years, and the first real aggressive, time-stealing move from a GC contender since stage 12. Joaquím Rodríguez lead the group in behind him. Chris Froome let thirteen seconds go to him and Valverde, but patted Poels on the back for a job well done. Bauke Mollema suffered tremendously, coming in solo, four minutes and twenty-six seconds behind. He drops to tenth in GC. Adam Yates also had a bad day, losing thirty-three seconds to Rodríguez, and dropping to fourth. Bardet is now second, with Quintana third, and second to fifth are now within 1:06 of each other. Their fight should be interesting, at least, tomorrow.

You want the injury count? Well, Dumoulin is headed home with a broken scaphoid, Navarro crashed and did his collarbone, Froome says he just has bruises, but had numerous cuts all down his right side, I don't know what's wrong with Mollema

Stage Results:
1. FRA Romain Bardet ALM 4:14:08
2. ESP Joaquím Rodríguez KAT 0:23
3. ESP Alejandro Valverde MOV "
4. RSA Louis Meintjes LAM "
5. COL Nairo Quintana MOV 0:24
6. ITA Fabio Aru AST 0:26
7. IRE Daniel Martin EQS 0:28
8. NED Wout Poels SKY 0:36
9. GBR Chris Froome SKY "
10. AUS Richie Porte BMC 0:53
General Classification
1. GBR Chris Froome SKY 82:10:37
2. FRA Romain Bardet ALM 4:11
3. COL Nairo Quintana MOV 4:27
4. GBR Adam Yates OBE 4:46
5. AUS Richie Porte BMC 5:17
6. ITA Fabio Aru AST 6:00
7. ESP Alejandro Valverde MOV 6:20
8. RSA Louis Meintjes LAM 7:02
9. IRE Daniel Martin EQS 7:10
10. NED Bauke Mollema TFS 7:42