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Whew. The cobbled stage of the 2018 Tour de France is finally done and dusted. The stage was unimaginable with the much-anticipated chaos becoming reality. Among all the mayhem, many tears were shed. The day began with tears of sorrow and, by the end, there were tears of happiness. The Grande Boucle showed us on this day, that despite all the impressive feats these athletes accomplish, they are indeed just like you and I.
Quote of the day:
“Pure happiness, really. I was chasing this victory for so long and it’s really hard to describe.” — an emotional John Degenkolb after winning stage 9.
Story of the day: Tears of joy and tears of sorrow
On Sunday, Richie Porte and John Degenkolb cried their hearts out. Their emotions were raw and personable. In a day and age when athletes are more guarded than ever, even among the media, they let their guards down as the world looked on.
Tears streamed down Degenkolb’s face, as a multitude of emotions coursed through him, the least of which seemed to be relief, happiness, redemption, and thinking of someone that was lost much too early. He had just captured stage nine of the Tour de France in Roubaix, a place he stood four years earlier on top of the world as the champion of the “Hell of the North.”
It was a “goosebumps moment.” A moment that was greater than the Tour, greater than cycling. He was letting the world see John the person and not Degenkolb the athlete.
“Everyone said I’m done, after the accident, I will never come back. But I knew I have to take one victory, for this guy, he was my second father, his name was Jörg, it was a horrible accident, it was a huge loss without him. I’m so happy to get this victory for him. There’s no way to make it more dramatic, more fantastic. I’m totally overwhelmed.”
In January of 2016, John Degenkolb and his teammates were involved in a bad accident with a motorist. The rest of his cycling career was not a guarantee.
— NBCSN Cycling (@NBCSNCycling) July 15, 2018
A few hours earlier, Porte sat on the pavement feeling his right shoulder. Tears began to stream down as his face as reality washed over him — his Tour was finished. With cameras flashing in his face he talked into his radio.
For the second year in-a-row, Porte crashed out of the Tour de France on stage nine of the race. The Tasmanian had battled back from last year’s horrific crash that had left him with a broken pelvis.
Porte was presumably in pain from the crash, but judging from the way he sat with his face in his hands, he was also feeling the heartbreak of leaving the Grande Boucle. Porte’s season centred around the Tour. All the hours of rehab from last year’s injuries and countless hours of training to get back to the Tour de France were lost in the blink of an eye.
Moments like Porte and Degenkolb allow us to see the riders as people and bring them down to the level of you and I, in a good way. On occasion, athletes are put on a pedestal for their exceptional sporting feats, but sometimes moments go beyond sport and allow us to see them as human.
Dispatches from the Tour de France
Degenkolb roars back with Roubaix success on stage 9 of Tour de France
John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) outsprinted maillot jaune wearer Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Yves Lampaert (QuickStep Floors) to the line to take stage nine of the 2018 Tour in Roubaix.
The main group – which numbered less than 30 riders – finished 27 seconds back. Present in that group were overall contenders Chris Froome (Team Sky), Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), and many others.
Notable GC riders losing time included crash victim Mikel Landa (Movistar) and multiple puncture victim Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), who both lost seven seconds to the aforementioned contenders. Further back was Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) who finished 1:55 behind Degenkolb and 1:28 off his GC rivals.
Click through to read our full report of John Degenkolb’s win on stage 9.
Tomorrow’s Tour stage
The Tour takes a rest day in Annecy on Monday, but it’s back to racing on Tuesday with the first mountain stage of this year’s Tour.
Finish: Le Grand-Bornand
After a demanding cobbled stage and a rest day, the climbers will finally come out to play at the 2018 Tour. The riders will tackle four categorized climbs, including the HC Montée du Plateau des Glières, which includes a two-kilometre dirt section. The Col de la Colombière is the final climb of the day, which summits just 15 kilometres from the finish line.
Double Victory! Van Vleuten claims final stage and overall at Giro Rosa
Australian team Mitchelton-Scott dominated the biggest professional women’s race on the calendar until the very end, as maglia rosa holder Annemiek van Vleuten attacked on the final descent to the finish to win the 10th stage of the 2018 Giro Rosa and solidify her overall victory. Mitchelton-Scott finished the race with six stages wins, the pink leader’s jersey with van Vleuten, and the green mountains jersey, and third overall with Amanda Spratt.
#GiroRosa18 A happy team on the podium after 10 incredible days
— Mitchelton-SCOTT (@MitcheltonSCOTT) July 15, 2018
Click through to read more about Annemiek van Vleuten’s Giro Rosa victory.
BMC Racing to continue in 2019 under new name
On the eve of the first rest day of the Tour, reports have surfaced that the BMC Racing team’s future is secure for the 2019 season. The team will be centred around Greg van Avermaet and will be a merger between the Polish CCC team and the remaining riders on the BMC team that have not already signed contracts for another team.
According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the team will be officially announced during the rest day and many members of the CCC team visited BMC Racing before the start of stage nine. Those in attendance included Dariusz Milek, the owner of CCC, and Robert Krajewski, the general manager of the CCC cycling team.
It is not yet known which bikes the team will ride, as BMC is expected to leave the team and become the bike sponsor of Dimension Data.
Tweet of the day
Before the start of stage nine, Lotto-Soudal tweeted “Good morning! Ready for a dusty day on the cobbles?.” Well, one of its riders clearly was not looking forward to the stage, as Belgian Thomas De Gendt replied “No.”
Interestingly enough, De Gendt proceeded to go on the attack from the start of the stage and make the early breakaway.
Tour de France stage 9 highlights
Giro Rosa stage 10 highlights