Today was the day of dreams at the Tour de France, as Kasper Asgreen sprinted out of the 18th stage’s long escape for the victory in Bourg-en-Bresse just seconds ahead of the thundering herd behind. It was the result that thousands of riders dreamt of when they took to the front of the race, only to see the dreams dashed. It was the example as to why it’s always worth a shot, why there’s hope to escape anonymity in the crowded Tour de France, why on any day anyone can have their big moment if things break just right.
Along with Asgreen, the Soudal-Quick Step rider who gave his team a lifeline today, was Uno-X rider Jonas Abrahamsen, and at times one or two different Lotto-DSTNY riders. This was very significant, not only to share the work, but because at some point Lotto pulled Victor Campenaerts back to collect a second rider, Pascal Eenckhoorn. Florian Vermeersch had also tried to bridge up, to no avail, but the pack was rarely more than a minute behind, so Lotto were able to bring up Eenckhoorn and double their power.
As the break headed for home, their lead dropped to 20 seconds, then 10, though Quick Step had Julian Alaphilippe in front disrupting the chase organization, and the trio had help from Jumbo-Visma who moved up to keep overall leader Jonas Vingegaard safe from harm. Then, with the sprint teams Alpecin-Deceuninck, BORA and Intermarché pulling through the final few km, it was Campenaerts who emptied the tank and kept the remaining trio’s hopes alive.
In sight of the line Asgreen moved forward and rather easily finished off the sprint over Eenckhoorn, followed by Abrahamsen. Jasper Philipsen easily finished off the sprinters’ gallop, albeit for fourth place, further cementing his domination of the points competition. Little else mattered today as the riders recovered from the mountains phase, with the exception of Simon Geschke’s withdrawal due to injury.
Moûtiers - Bourg en Bresse 184.9 km
We cool the jets for just a moment to digest the events in the Alps and to let the sprinters have a go.
Expected finish time: 17:30-17:55 CEST
Chicken of the Day: Jasper Philipsen
It feels like weeks ago but I seem to remember him being quite fast.