photo credits @ Le Tour/Twitter
Romain Bardet claimed stage 18 of this year’s Tour de France in a solo victory today, after riding clear of his breakaway companions during the final few kilometers to seize the win by more than half a minute over his rivals.
The French rider attacked from the breakaway group just before the summit of the Col du Glandon, and from there, increased his lead along the descent before reaching the the Lacets de Montvernier – with 10 kilometers remaining.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lost contact on the Col du Glandon, but the Spanish rider eventually fought his way back to remain in third place – at 4:09 adrift.
In addition, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) made a short-lived attack on the col but was swiftly reeled in, where he remained fifth, at 6:40 back.
“It was a very tricky start today. I think everyone was pretty tired at the start of today, so it was tough for everyone. I’m a good descender so I had just enough energy left at the end to get across the line. I knew the end of this stage really well. We took it on at the end of the Dauphiné as well, so I know this route by heart. The last kilometers, even though I knew them well, were very long,” Bardet said.
“To start, getting in the breakaway was really hard. It was a fast pace but it was tough to get involved in it. I wanted the victory, so I just had to go through that pain. It’s been amazing, phenomenal, the crowds… it was like being in a football stadium, there was that much noise generated. I felt really supported by the crowd today.”
Froome remains the overall race leader, with a 3:10 advantage over Nairo Quintana.
Stage 18 Results
FRA 1 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) 5:03:40
FRA 2 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 33
COL 3 ANACONA GOMEZ, Winner (MOVISTAR) + 59
LUX 4 JUNGELS, Bob (TREK FACTORY RACING)
DEN 5 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA)
BEL 6 PAUWELS, Serge (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 1:01
FRA 7 GAUTIER, Cyril (EUROPCAR) + 1:50
ITA 8 CARUSO, Damiano (BMC RACING)
USA 9 TALANSKY, Andrew (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 1:55
FRA 10 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 3:02
NED 11 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
GBR 12 FROOME, Christopher (SKY)
ESP 13 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR)
GBR 14 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY)
ESP 15 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO)
SUI 16 FRANK, Mathias (IAM CYCLING)
COL 17 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR)
ITA 18 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA)
ITA 19 SCARPONI, Michele (ASTANA)
ESP 20 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 3:21
NED 21 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK FACTORY RACING)
ESP 22 PLAZA MOLINA, Ruben (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 5:12
POL 23 MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 5:33
EST 24 KANGERT, Tanel (ASTANA) + 6:32
FRA 25 CHEREL, Mikael (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 6:45
CZE 26 KONIG, Leopold (SKY) + 6:56
General Classification after Stage 18
GBR 1 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) 74:13:31
COL 2 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 3:10
ESP 3 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 4:09
GBR 4 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) + 6:34
ESP 5 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 6:40
NED 6 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 7:39
ITA 7 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) + 8:04
SUI 8 FRANK, Mathias (IAM CYCLING) + 8:47
NED 9 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 12:06
FRA 10 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 12:52
FRA 11 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 13:08
USA 12 TALANSKY, Andrew (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 15:18
FRA 13 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 16:02
BEL 14 PAUWELS, Serge (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 18:06
ESP 15 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 18:11
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