In a race that has lived up to the considerable billing of the centennial edition, the penultimate stage brought full gas racing, fireworks on the final climb, and a change to the final podium.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) proved himself equal to the legacy of his nation’s climbing talent, and gave every indication of his abilities as a future Tour winner by claiming a superb victory, won against the stiffest opposition: Chris Froome.
The champion elect gave another demonstration of his astonishing acceleration on climbs, but today the Columbian had an answer. Twice.
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) finished second after a seemingly low-key Tour that only sprung into life with an unexpected third place in the stage 17 mountain time trial.
His efforts on the climb to Annecy-Semnoz, and the fading of Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), brought a change in order on the final podium. The two Spaniards have swapped places.
Tomorrow’s run into Paris is likely to be a formality for the GC men, who will hand the floor to the sprinters before Froome’s likely coronation.
Relive all the excitement of today’s twentieth stage through the lens of Stefano Sirotti.