FILE PHOTO: Cycling – Tour de France – The 126.5-km Stage 19 from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes – July 26, 2019 – Trek-Segafredo rider Giulio Ciccone of Italy leads the breakaway group. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

VAL THORENS, France (Reuters) – The 20th stage of the Tour de France started on Saturday after heavy rain and thunderstorms threatened to force organizers to cancel the ride from Albertville.

Hailstorms and a landslide meant the race jury cut Friday’s stage short due to safety concerns and they had already decided to reduce the 20th stage from 130km to 59km.

However, the extreme weather continued overnight and the publicity caravan did not drive up to the finish because of the conditions and only drove a loop around Albertville, where the shortened stage eventually started as scheduled at 1230GMT.

Colombian Egan Bernal is the overall leader ahead of France’s Julian Alaphilippe and defending champion Geraint Thomas, who are second and third, respectively.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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