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TdF #18: Chapeau

July 21, 2013

Riblon was the hero of the home nation by overtaking Van Garderen in the last few metres of the long hard stage and winning on the famed Alp d’Huez. The locals had to wait more than two weeks but at last they have a stage winner. They had to climb the Alpe twice as the parcour took them along a farm track like road and down a descent that had been criticised as dangerous. In the end the only rider to have trouble was the winner, who road into a ditch but only got wet feet.

Riblon and TJ were in a break that was established early and lasted all day. The peleton was stretched on the first climb that was at the start of the stage. Saxo-Tinkoff attacked but Sky was able to chase them done. After the climb the pace settled down and the break was allowed to escape. Roche and Paulinho tried hard, probably too hard, to escape and provide later support to Contador.

The early climbs and the first ascent of the Alpe weeded out a few from the break and the GC peleton but there was no major shake up. Contador attacked on the descent between the climbs up the Alpe, but made little time and was back in the group before the final climb.

Froome attacked and only Quintana and Rodriguez could go with him. A few minutes later however, Froome ran out of gas and looked in trouble when he asked for food. Quintana and Rodriguez quickly disappeared when the realised what was happening, but in the end did not gain enough time to threaten his lead. A rare moment of weakness for Froome. He was penalised for taking food, which is an odd rule. It may be to eliminate getting a toe from cars but if there is no toe, then what is the harm? Later, it was reported that the Sky car had mechanical trouble and could not supply the team. Even more reason to allow feeding later in the stage. Should the Tour really be decided because a rider cannot get his lunch?


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