Sidi Shines With Bernal At Highest Ever Tour
By Saddleback Ltd – 1 August 2019 | Photos: BettiniPhoto
With Egan Bernal in yellow and five stage wins, Sidi continued its dominance of the Tour de France in 2019.
22-year-old Egan Bernal’s first Tour title for Team Ineos means Sidi riders have now claimed an astonishing 15 GC victories at the world’s most important bike race. Perhaps it’s not too much of a surprise – having invented the first cleat-based cycling shoe back in 1973, Sidi’s unique blend of innovation, comfort and style has long been a favourite of the pro peloton.
The world’s best riders continue to flock to the Italian company – five out of the top-seven riders at the 2016 Tour were wearing Sidi shoes. The current roster includes the likes of Chris Froome, Michal Kwiatkowski, Adam and Simon Yates, Vincenzo Nibali, Matteo Trentin, Rigoberto Uran and, of course, Bernal, who despite his young age is a long-time Sidi wearer.
Bernal’s rise to the top of the Team Ineos roster has been expected though perhaps not quite so soon. With Chris Froome out of action with a crash in June that left him in intensive care, Bernal came into this year’s Tour as a super domestique for defending champion Geraint Thomas. While Thomas’s legs looked strong on Stage 6’s savage gradients to La Planche des Belles Filles, it became clear as the race progressed that Bernal had more firepower than his teammate.
The fact the Colombian was raised in Zipaquirá, which sits at 2,650m above sea level certainly didn’t harm his chances in excelling in this year’s Tour, which was billed as the highest race in history thanks to five summit finishes – three above 2,000m – and the scaling of the 2,770m-high Col d’Iseran, the highest road in Europe.
On the Tourmalet, Bernal stayed with the favourites as Thomas faded and he was best of the rest the following day when Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) attacked on Stage 15. In the Alps, Bernal’s attacking performance on the Galibier during Stage 18 showed he wasn’t just the strongest rider on Team Ineos, but the best climber in the race. On the Col d’Iseran, Bernal counter-attacked after Thomas’s own effort and disappeared up the ascent at a shocking pace, a move that put him in yellow during the shortened penultimate mountain stage.
With only one day until Paris, the defensive strength of Team Ineos secured the Maillot Jaune for Bernal, who looked resplendent in yellow and took the victory with grace and humility beyond his years – giving Sidi yet another win at La Grande Boucle along with the White Jersey.
Sidi’s 2019 Tour wasn’t just about Bernal, however. Official shoe partner of Bahrain-Merida, Sidi’s account was opened at this year’s edition by Belgium’s Dylan Teuns who in his first Tour took the win on the sadistically steep slopes of La Planche des Belles Filles on Stage 6.
Next up was Stage 12 and the turn of homegrown hero Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), who attacked from the breakaway on the Horquette d'Ancizan, taking Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) and Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) along with him. The games started in the final kilometre, but it was Yates who played it cool before sprinting to get the best position around the final left-hander to cross the line in his Sidi Shots.
Yates was on the hunt again during Stage 15, where the Brit put in a long-range attack from the breakaway 8.5km from the summit finish of Prat d'Albis. Pacing it perfectly, Yates took his seventh Tour de France stage win.
Matteo Trentin completed the Sidi and Mitchelton-Scott hattrick as Yates’ teammate was victorious on the road to favourite Tour finishing town, Gap. Trentin, who also favours the Sidi Shot, broke up the breakaway with a serious injection of pace with 14km to go. On the final climb, his buffer had grown to 30 seconds, which the Italian extended on the descent into Gap.
Bookending the Tour for Sidi in terms of stage wins was another Bahrain-Merida success. This time the victory came from Sidi stalwart Vincenzo Nibali, who after a quiet Tour, reminded everyone of his class on the final day in the Alps. With Stage 20 cut to just 59km due to landslides on the original route, Nibali went on the offensive 12km from the summit of the 2019 Tour’s final climb to Val Thorens. Passing under the flamme rouge with a 30 second buffer, Nibali powered to victory to top off Sidi’s fifth stage win of the Tour.
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