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After three tough days in the Alps, the riders of the 2018 Tour de France were able to enjoy flat roads for a change. The peloton was happy to leave the Alps behind and many riders noted after the stage it was a relaxing day out. Thankfully, it was crash free as well. A relaxing day does not come often at the Tour and with many teams still searching for glory, the fight for the breakaway will get harder and harder.
Word of the day:
Panache: flamboyant confidence of style or manner.
Story of the day: The Panache of Philippe Gilbert
As the road tipped upward and the red kit loomed overhead, a rider clad in all blue streaked alongside the peloton and into the lead. He never gained more than 30 metres on the bunch, but, none the less, he gave it his all.
Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) races with panache. Now, what does this mean? Well, to race with panache is to pursue victory when the odds are greatly stacked against you. Riders with panache lose more often than they win, but their victories are headliners. The sport of cycling loves a great story and nothing is better than winning when everyone counted you out.
The retired Frenchman Thomas Voeckler raced his career with panache. From his 10-day stint in the maillot jaune at the 2004 Tour to finishing fourth overall at the 2011 Tour. Voeckler’s time in the maillot jaune came from day-long breakaways that survived all the way to the finish. The early breakaway at the Tour has a slim chance of surviving, but Voeckler became France’s golden boy by bringing it to the line.
Panache is also attacking even when everyone expects it and pulling off the victory. At the 2012 road world championships in Valkenburg, every rider and most cycling fan’s knew Gilbert was going to launch the last time up the Cauberg. The Belgian did so, left everyone in his wake, and became world champion.
Gilbert has twice now attacked under the red kite and each time he was brought back by the powerful engines of the sprinters’ lead-out men. With Quick-Step’s premier sprinter Fernando Gaviria out of the Tour, Gilbert has been let loose and is no longer firmly on lead-out train duty. Expect the Belgian to try another audacious move before this year’s Tour is finished.
Dispatches from the Tour
Three and counting: Sagan notches up another Tour de France win on stage 13
Out of the mountains, back to the sprints. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) consolidated his grip on the green jersey by winning stage 13 of the Tour de France, hitting the line first in Valence. The world champion timed his effort perfectly, sweeping past Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and lunging for the finish.
The victory was his third of this year’s Tour and the 11th of his career. “This stage was like a piece of gold for us, I think,” he smiled. “It is fantastic. It was a flat stage, everybody could recover a bit in the group. I think everybody was happy in the bunch, they had a bit of a relaxed stage.
Click through to read all about Peter Sagan notching another Tour victory on stage 13.
Tomorrow’s Tour stage
It will be a difficult day through the Massif Central. The roads are typically in poor condition and constantly rolling in this region. The Côte de la Croix Neuve will surely break up the peloton due to its steep gradients, and we could see the GC contenders come out and play.
Vos wins stage one of BeNe Ladies Tour
A week ago Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) won her first race of 2018 and then fell ill and left the Giro Rosa prematurely. On Thursday, the European champion showed no sign of the illness, driving a late-race breakaway and beating her companions to take the victory on stage one of the BeNe Ladies Tour in Merelbeke. She had finished second the night before in the opening prologue.
The Dutchwoman out sprinted Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal) and Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana) for the win. The peloton came home seconds behind the leading trio, but the gap was enough for Vos to take the lead in the general classification.
Vos is no stranger to the town Merelbeke, where the stage started and finished. The town hosts a cyclocross race every fall that is part of the DVV Verzekeringen series. Vos is a 7-time world cyclocross champion.
Tweet of the day
A little kid was awestruck to meet Astana’s Michael Valgren at the start of stage 13.
— Astana Pro Team (@AstanaTeam) July 20, 2018
Tour de France stage 13 highlights