Brailsford: Bold Bernal deserves Tour de France lead
Dave Brailsford declared "fortune favours the brave" after Egan Bernal took the yellow jersey in bizarre fashion on the penultimate day of competitive racing at the Tour de France.
Bernal moved above Julian Alaphilippe to the top of the general classification standings by climbing to the summit of the gruelling Col de l'Iseran before stage 19 was neutralised due to extreme weather conditions.
A flash snow storm, hail and a landslide led to race organisers stopping the riders from continuing with 30 kilometres to go on a 126.5km route from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes.
Times were taken at the top of the Col de l'Iseran, so the powerful Bernal holds a 45-second lead over Alaphilippe, with defending champion Geraint Thomas a minute and three seconds adrift of his Team INEOS colleague.
Brailsford reflected on a job well done with Team INEOS in pole position to win the race in their first year under new ownership and said it was the right decision to cut the stage short.
#TDF2019 GC after 19 stages:— Team INEOS (@TeamINEOS) July 26, 2019
1. @Eganbernal (@TeamINEOS)
2. Alaphilippe (DQT) +45’’
3. @GeraintThomas86 (@TeamINEOS) +1’03’’
4. Kruijswijk (TJV) +1’15’’
5. Buchmann (BOH) +1’42’’ pic.twitter.com/Qxn10WEMUu
The Team INEOS boss said: "First and foremost, there's obviously been a landslide – quite a considerable one. You've got to make sure everyone is alright. There's bike racing and then there's the health and safety of everyone. I just hope everyone is alright.
"Fortune favours the brave at the end of the day. As we said this morning, we were going to take it on. We've maybe not been the strongest that we've been all race, but today was the day.
"We thought if there was anywhere that we could make the difference, it was on the Iseran. It was going to be hard to get there and I actually thought the guys rode really well.
"From Dylan [van Baarle] getting in the break, to Castro [Jonathan Castroviejo] and the guys – with Wout [Poels] pushing the tempo at the bottom. We executed a plan, with G [Thomas] going first, Egan went over the top.
"Who knows what would have happened after that. It was nice to get to the top of the Iseran in that situation which is what we were hoping for.
"Obviously there's quite a lot of downhill and another climb to come. But we don't control the weather or the circumstances."