The Slovenia Times

Matej Mohorič wins Tour de France stage 19

Moutiers, France
Slovenian cyclist Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious).
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Slovenian rider Matej Mohorič won stage 19 of the Tour de France on 21 July in a photo finish ahead of Danish rider Kasper Asgreen and Australian Ben O'Connor.

Mohorič, who rides for Bahrain Victorious, was able to break away from the peloton 31 km before the finish line, when he attacked together with Asgreen (Soudal-Quick Step) and O'Connor (AG2R Citroen).

O'Connor started sprinting first 500 metres before the end but stood no chance against the two better sprinters.

"When Ben attacked, I knew he was going to do it because it was the only chance he had," Mohorič said after the race. "I knew Kasper would react, then I pipped him on the line."

At first it looked like Asgreen was going to score his second stage win in a row, but then in the last few metres Mohorič sped up and pushed his bike forward, earning himself a win in a thrilling photo finish, just a few centimetres ahead of the Dane.

"This victory means a lot because it's hard and cruel to be a professional cyclist," Mohorič said. "You suffer a lot in preparations. You sacrifice your life, your family, and you do everything you can to get here ready. After a couple of days you realise everybody is so incredibly strong that it's just hard to follow the wheels," he added.

"It's emotional for me and for the team because of the hard times we have gone through," Mohorič said, adding that he had to do this for the late teammate Gino Mäder, who died in June after a crash on the Tour de Suisse.

This is the 19th victory in Mohorič's career and his 3rd on the Tour after he won two stages in 2021. He has won one stage at the Giro and one on the Vuelta as well.

His compatriot Luka Mezgec (Jayco-AlUla) crossed the finish line with the second group 39 seconds after Mohorič and took seventh place.

The route spanning 172,8 km from Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny did not bring any notable changes to the overall standings as Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), the defending champion whose hold on the leader's yellow jersey is firm, and Slovenia's Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) rode with the peloton.

Pogačar finished 42nd but kept second place in the overall rankings. He was just behind Vingegaard for most of the Tour, itching to take the yellow jersey on top of the white, but then the Dane crushed him in the time trial on 18 July and dealt another massive blow in the next stage, further stretching his lead in the general classification.

Exhausted, Pogačar has not performed well since then and currently more than seven and a half minutes behind Vingegaard, the two-time Tour de France champion is most likely to finish second in this year's Tour, same as last year.

He is still hopeful for another stage win. "It's been a hard couple of days, let's see how I feel tomorrow," the Slovenian said, adding that he has a strong team that will fight for the stage win.

Tomorrow will bring the last challenging stage of the Tour de France with six climbs taking the riders from Belfort to Le Markstein, before the Tour wraps up on 23 July.


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