With so many marquee sprinters missing and a prestigious Tour de France victory up for grabs, stage 13 was only ever going to end in a sprint finish. Exuding cool calm, Peter Sagan surfed wheels on the run in then timed his sprint and bike throw to perfection to pip Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Demare for his hat trick. There was no change on GC except the sad news that Vincenzo Nibali had to retire from the race due to injuries received when he was brought down on stage 12.
Rider(s) of the race
If Demare had got his arms in the air at the finish, I would have hauled the whole darn Groupama-FDJ team up to the podium. They stuck to their game plan and took responsibility for kilometre after long kilometre – rouleurs, puncheurs and climbers alike. Nothing I have more respect for than watching the likes of David Gaudu hauling the peloton along. However, the fact they came away empty handed was in no small part due to my two riders of the race.
BMC’s Michael Schär gets the nod for persistence personified at either end of the stage.
Not only did he have to counter attack and chase Tom Scully and Thomas De Gendt to get into the break, but he also refused to let the sprinter’s teams have it all their own way at finish. Going solo with around 20km to go and hoping against hope to get to the narrow roads of the Valence with a gap. Alas, the wide straight roads on the run in dashed his dreams. However, his lactic-fuelled agonising effort did gain him a well deserved trip to the combativity podium.
I kept on believing. It was difficult with the sprinters’ teams but you never know and I told myself that there is always a chance. If you never give up maybe one day it works out. It is definitely cool to have the red number. It is something honorable and even when I came back into the bunch some of the guys were already saying congrats on the ride so, that was also something cool.
If Schar takes the award for an all-day effort, my second pick gave us short, sharp and thrilling. Step up Quick-Step Floor’s tenacious Philippe Gilbert.Embed from Getty Images
Oh man, his attack under the flamme rouge, just as they approached the final S- bend in the road, woke everybody up. It was sooooo very nearly perfect and certainly made the sprint trains work hard to bring him back. I love this series of tweets team, surely mirroring what a lot of fans were screaming at the television.
Ain’t this the truth!!
Get well, Vincenzo
News this morning confirmed the rumours circulating after Vincenzo Nibali was brought down on Alpe d’Huez. A broken vertebrae has taken the Shark out of the race. The race and fans will miss the sparkle and excitement that a racer of his quality and verve can bring. Heal well Vinnie.
From the minute the World champion left Kristoff’s wheel his victory never looked in doubt. Today marked his 2018 TDF hat trick, his 11th TDF victory in total and extended his lead in the green jersey competition to 228 points. He only needs to get to Paris to claim his seventh title in eight years. He’s also just beaten Eddie Merckx for the most number of stages leading a a TDF classification.
You know the race has reached southern France when the sunflower shots grace out screen.
The pure excitement of our mystery ‘young fan’ on yesterday’s #TourInFive podcast was just joyous. If you haven’t heard it yet, I urge you to give it a listen. Sometimes we all need a reminder of how brilliant the Tour is when seen through less cynical eyes. In a similar vein, you just know these children will remember their day for years to come.
1 Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) 3:45:55
2 Alexander Kristoff (UAE Emirates) same time
3 Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) s/t
4 John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) s/t
5 Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) s/t
GC Top 10
1 Geraint Thomas (Sky) 53:10:38
2 Chris Froome (Sky) +1.39
3 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) +1.50
4 Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) +2.46
5 Romain Bardet (AG2R) +3.07
6 Mikel Landa (Movistar) +3.13
7 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) +2.40
8 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +4.13
9 Dan Martin (UAE) +5.11
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +5:45
All the jerseysEmbed from Getty Images
Leader’s jersey: Geraint Thomas (Sky)
Points jersey: Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)
KOM jersey: Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)
Best young rider: Pierre Latour (Ag2r)
Most combative: Michael Schaar (BMC)
Listen to Stage 13’s VeloVoices Tour in 5 podcast now on any podcast browser, even Spotify! and remember, you can get involved too!
Header Image: JEFF CLOUD/AFP/Getty Images