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Laporte wins Tour de France stage 19 as Vingegaard stays in lead

Cahors (France) (AFP) – Christophe Laporte became the first Frenchman to win on this year’s Tour de France, taking stage 19 at Cahors on Friday, as Jonas Vingegaard maintained his race lead over defending champion Tadej Pogacar with just two days left.

Laporte, of Jumbo Visma, managed to close a gap from the main peloton to a stubborn escape group around 1km from the line before edging ahead to easily win this largely flat stage.

This was a fifth stage win for Jumbo on the 2022 Tour with Vingegaard and Wout van Aert winning two apiece.

Shortly after leaving the cooler high altitudes of the Pyrenees, an escape crept ahead of a weary peloton as it rolled towards Tarn, with the title pretenders keeping a low profile in the flatlands.

The escape was never allowed to build up a convincing lead but just as the sprint teams looked to have them in their grasp, Laporte leapt across the divide and van Aert dropped behind.

Laporte then hammered over the final 800m, holding the closing sprint pack to a 1sec triumph, as Belgian ace Jasper Philipsen took second.

Vingegaard has a 3min 21sec advantage over Pogacar, who clawed back five seconds Friday, ahead of Saturday’s key 41km individual time-trial which will finally settle what has been an edge-of-the -seat struggle for the 2022 title.

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