Egan Bernal was down, now he’s out, the decision to abandon made by his team director and in his best interest. Surely many of us wanted him to stay in out of respect for his teammates and the race itself, but his injuries are starting to impact him. “I was suffering all day with back pain, and it was increasing. On the last climb, it switched to my knee. I’m screwed up on all sides,” he said. So now the team will continue to focus on individual stages where they can, we have seen Carapaz make the best of his chances, including today where he survived the 5 man break the longest and wasn’t caught until around 2km to go. Look for other Ineos riders to get into tomorrows break away and Kwiatkowski to take his shot at stage 19.
It wasn’t just Carapaz who had a shot in the breakaway we saw Julian Alaphilippe and lennard Kamna, yesterdays winner, back at it again, followed alongside by Dan Martin and Gorka Izzaguirre. While Carapaz survived the longest and had the best results of the breakaway on the day, Alaphilippe was awarded the combativity award on the day. It is no doubt this was because President Macron was on site today following in the tour directors car the whole race.
Bahrain Mcclaren did their best for Mikel Landa but it was for naught as Mikel cracked almost immediately after his teammates dropped off, but the damange to leading group was done and the entire race blown open with more than 3km still to race. Kuss took control at the front and rode Roglic off his wheel without even realizing. This created the opportunity for Miguel superman lopez to launch what would be the decisive attack. Roglic batted and won out over Tadej Pogacar, extending his lead to 57 seconds and taking him one firm step closer to yellow in Paris.
Coming into today we knew that the individual to pass the highest point in the tour first was not the man to win, so it was not a surprise that someone other than Roglic and Pogacar took the win. Similarly, after a long drought in KOM points ,the polkadot jersey finally changed hands from Benoit Cosnefroy to Tadej Pogacar. Despite rumblings on social media, the climbers jersey does end up in the right hands by the end of the tour with the last 10 winners being: Sammy Sanchez, Thomas Voeckler, Nairo Quinana, Rafal Majka, Chris Froome, Rafal Majka, Warren Barguil, Julian Alaphilippe, and Romain Bardet.
Now looking ahead to tomorrow. Today was the queen stage, but tomorrows 18th stage actually features an additional 1,000 meters of climbing, distributed across more categorized climbs. Expect there to be breaks and attacks, but, the finale is following a descent so time gaps do have the chance to be mitigated. The ride with the best shot to break up this current podium standing is Richie Porte, who was 5th today and continues to ride great, he is also the best TT rider of the induvials in places 3-7th.