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Tour Stage 18: Froome Equal to all Challenges as Barguil Takes Another Stage

Le Tour de France 2017 - Stage Eighteen Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When Alexey Lutsenko reached the summit of the Col de Vars, taking the ten mountains points, Warren Barguil’s work for this Tour de France was done. He had mathematically obtained the polka dot jersey. That wasn’t enough for him today, however, and he took advantage of his strong climbing form and the gamesmanship among the GC contenders to take his second stage of the Tour de France.

After a fifty-man breakaway had taken its leave of the peloton in the early kilometres of the 179 kilometre stage, the pace of the peloton was dictated for the majority of the stage, as expected, by Luke Rowe and Christian Knees, Sky’s flat domestiques who have been busy defining the word “invaluable” for most of the race. They were joined, briefly, by Bora-Hansgrohe, who had missed a third of the peloton disappearing off the front and decided to chase because they were going to be pretty directionless anyway, weren’t they?

AG2R took up the pace on the Col de Vars, Axel Domont propelling the group up most of the climb and bringing down the leaders’ advantage, before Oliver Naesen took over on the descent. Stints from Gastauer, Gautier and Latour on the Izoard would cut the peloton to maybe twenty riders, but not the fewer that Sky would have left, and as AG2R’s help began to run out, Barguil attacking with Contador at this point, Sky began to make them pay.

Michal Kwiatkowski took the lead, contorted facial expression and sweat-soaked jersey. He didn’t look capable of propelling the group more than a few hundred metres, but he did it for kilometre after kilometre, shedding riders, including Fabio Aru, from the back and keeping his leader safe for as long as possible. This left Landa alone with Froome soon enough, as Mikel Nieve was dropped, but Froome was equal to the task in any case, letting Landa up the road to force his competitors to chase for fear of losing their GC placings, and following Bardet’s inevitable attack as soon as it came. This whittled the GC group down to Froome, Urán and Bardet, with Landa up ahead. Froome then made an attack of his own, effectively forming a gap between himself and the other podium-holders, but on the downhill section near the top of the climb, Urán could pull him back.

Barguil, meanwhile, was cutting his way through the break. Contador had been long dispatched and the king of the mountains rode past Gallopin, Lutsenko, and finally Atapuma on the way to the top of the mountain. He would reach the line by himself, twenty seconds ahead of the GC group. Atapuma narrowly took second from Bardet, who beat Froome to four bonus seconds. Urán was gapped by two seconds and narrowly loses his GC place.

Stage Results

  1. Warren Barguil (FRA), Team Sunweb - 4:40:33
  2. Jhon Darwin Atapuma (COL), UAE Team Emirates - 0:20
  3. Romain Bardet (FRA), AG2R La Mondiale - st
  4. Chris Froome (UK), Team Sky - st
  5. Rigoberto Urán (COL), Cannondale-Drapac - 0:22
  6. Mikel Landa (ESP), Team Sky - 0:32
  7. Louis Meintjes (RSA), UAE Team Emirates - 0:37
  8. Daniel Martin (IRE), Quick-Step Floors - 0:39
  9. Simon Yates (UK), Orica-Scott - 0:59
  10. Alberto Contador (ESP), Trek-Segafredo - 1:09

General Classification

  1. Chris Froome (UK), Team Sky - 78:08:19
  2. Romain Bardet (FRA), AG2R La Mondiale - 0:23
  3. Rigoberto Urán (COL), Cannondale-Drapac - 0:29
  4. Mikel Landa (ESP), Team Sky - 1:36
  5. Fabio Aru (ITA), Astana - 1:55
  6. Daniel Martin (IRE), Quick-Step Floors - 2:56
  7. Simon Yates (UK), Orica-Scott - 4:46
  8. Louis Meintjes (RSA), UAE Team Emirates - 6:52
  9. Warren Barguil (FRA), Team Sunweb - 8:22
  10. Alberto Contador (ESP), Trek-Segafredo - 8:34