LE GRAND-BORNAND, France (AP) — Rui Costa of Portugal won the mountainous 19th stage of the Tour de France with a solo breakaway on the final climb, while Chris Froome kept the overall lead in rainy conditions on Friday.
Costa secured his second stage win of the race after catching Frenchman Pierre Roland about a quarter of the way up the fourth and final major ascent of Col de la Croix Fry.
German veteran Andreas Kloeden was second, 46 seconds behind, and Belgian Jan Bakelants was 1:44 back in third. Froome and his main Tour rival Alberto Contador finished together several minutes behind Costa.
Froome maintained his lead of 5:11 over the Spaniard. He is two days from becoming the second British rider to win the race after Bradley Wiggins last year.
The 127-mile trek featured two HC climbs and two Category 1 ascents between Bourg-d’Oisans and Le Grand-Bornand in the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.
Contador was tipped to attack Froome in the long downhill finish, but perhaps because of the rain, the attack never came.
Froome was not attacked up the first of the two big climbs to Col du Glandon — one of the day’s two HC ascents. They are known as HC, Hors Categorie, because they are considered so tough they are beyond classification.