photo credits @ Le Tour
Rigoberto Urán sprinted to a jaw-dropping photo-finish victory in Chambéry in a thrilling climax to an incident-packed Stage 9 at the Tour de France.
GC hopeful Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) abandoned after a sickening high-speed crash on the final descent off Mont du Chat, an accident which also took out Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), although Martin was able to continue.
An elite six-man group of Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb), yellow jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Fabio Aru and Jakob Fuglsgang (both Astana Pro Team) then came together with 2.2 kilometers remaining after a determined solo attack by Bardet was reeled in.
It initially appeared Barguil – who had also attacked alone and led over the final climb before being caught by compatriot Bardet – had snatched victory in a scintillating sprint and the Frenchman burst into tears as he celebrated. But the photo-finish soon revealed Uran had edged him out.
The Colombian’s win was all the more remarkable as it was achieved with just one gear – he was unable to shift as his bike had been damaged in the aftermath of Porte’s crash.
Team Sky’s Froome stays in the yellow jersey but will now be without his lieutenant Geraint Thomas for the rest of the race. The Welshman crashed on the descent of Col de la Biche, the first of three hors-category climbs, and abandoned with a suspected broken collarbone.
Seven categorized climbs en route blew the peloton to pieces and the action was unrelenting across the 181.5 kilometer stage – with two categorized climbs coming inside the first 15km.
On the final climb of Mont du Chat, Froome’s gears failed and he dropped back to change his bike, prompting Aru to simultaneously launch an attack. But it appeared the Astana Pro Team rider was told to wait by BMC Racing Team’s Porte in view of Froome’s mechanical.
After an energy-sapping day that elite six-man group raced into Chambéry and there was more drama to come as Barguil celebrated a sprint win – only to be denied by the photo finish.
Uran said,“it’s unbelievable. I don’t really feel it’s true. I was actually leaving the stage, because I didn’t think I had won it. It’s a huge surprise for me.”
Barguil assumes the lead in the King of the Mountains classification, while Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) won the day’s only intermediate sprint.
Arnaud Demaré (FDJ), who has been suffering with illness, reportedly missed the time cut and is out of the race – along with three team-mates.
Stage 9 result
1. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, 5h07’22”
2. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb, same time
3. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, same time
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, same time
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, same time
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, same time
7. George Bennet (NZ) Team LottoNL-Jumbo, +1’15”
8. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, same time
9. Dan Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, same time
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team, same time
1. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 38h26’28”
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, +18”
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, +51″
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, +55 “
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, +1’37”
6. Dan Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, +1’44”
7. Simon Yates (GB) ORICA-SCOTT, +2’02”
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team, +2’13”
9. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, +3’06”
10. George Bennet (NZ) Team LottoNL-Jumbo, +3’53”
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