Thursday July 23rd, 2015

Stage 18Gap / Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Start 12h20 (Local time)

Key moments

video23.07.2015

Summary

video23/07/2015 

Summary

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Stage summary23.07.2015

The Bardet day of glory

Romain Bardet claimed his first stage victory at the Tour de France. He built it from a long lasting breakaway and escaped near the top of col du Glandon and rode away solo in the downhill. He stayed away for 40 kilometres with an advantage of 40 seconds over his chasers. This is the second stage win for France and AG2R-La Mondiale at this year's Tour de France. Chris Froome was never put in difficulty and kept the yellow jersey with two Alpine stages left.

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I'd need a rest day! I didn't expect to suffer so much in the climbs today. I've made the breakaways for four straight days… and I've tried again today. But the break was gone and it didn't work out. All day, it never eased up. There are two hard days left. If it's like today, I'll be in pain.

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I still believe I can win the Tour. I feel good and my desire to win is enormous. I've got two opportunities left. Tomorrow and after tomorrow we'll try and create the gaps we haven't made today. La Toussuire is a nice finish but I prefer l'Alpe d'Huez: the more people the better. Today when Nibali accelerated, Valverde wasn't at his best, that's why I eased up. With all the climbs we've already done, Chris Froome might as well pay the price for his efforts. Me too! But I hope it won't be...

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I'm happy and sad at the same time. I felt good today but the breakaway was hard to control because of the big number of riders in it. My goal was to pass first at the Glandon to take 25 KOM points but it hasn't been possible. I've had to close gaps all the time. I haven't managed to feed myself as much as I needed. I paid the price. It's a pity because it was a good day for another stage win. Now my goal will be to score a maximum of points to reach Paris with the polka dot jersey.
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I've respected our plan this morning. I had to make the breakaway and that was the hardest part. In the past few days, we've seen big groups going up the road and that's complicated to deal with. I had to reach the col du Glandon with the smallest group possible. I was keen to attack at the bottom but I knew there would be head wind towards the top so I waited. I've raced as if the finishing line was at the top of the Glandon.
Clearly in Mende I made a mistake. I didn't know there was...

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There are a few races within the race, like Rodriguez going up the road for the King of the Mountains. Riders who are eighth or ninth overall put their team at the front of the bunch to defend their position. It works well for us. Having Geraint Thomas in fourth position is a dream scenario. Quintana and Valverde ride more conservatively because if they go for all or nothing, they risk losing their place on the podium, so we're just focused on those two riders.
I'm in a good shape. I'm...

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Hampered by his crash in yesterday's stage, Alberto Contador fought back by attacking today and promised to try again.

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Second behind Romain Bardet, the Europcar team leader said the fact that a Frenchman won made up for his disappointment.

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Questioned this morning by letour.com, BMC Racing Team directeur sportif Yvon Ledanois declared: “Most importantly, the team's track record is very positive with three stage wins. Tejay (Van Garderen) finishing on the podium would have been the icing on the cake but that's life. Many teams would like to complete the Tour with three stage wins. We can still hope for a fourth one but the guys are tired after having worked for Tejay for two weeks.”

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Sporting stakes22.07.2015

Interminable col du Glandon...

During stage 17, Chris Froome's direct adversaries have given a taste of their intentions to attack him from very far out. The yellow jersey holder expects to be put under pressure again. He'll be on the rollers prior to the start in Gap because that's a brutal one with the 6-km long ascent to col Bayard right from the gun. Simon Geschke must have inspired many riders who aren't used to get the honors at the Tour de France. A breakaway is expected to take shape on the Route Napoleon, two...

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video30/06/2015 

Parc national de la Vanoise

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