Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
It was a legendary day at the Tour for the final day in the Alps. Alpe d’Huez demonstrated why it is one of the most mythical climbs in cycling. The GC contenders laid it all on the line attacking relentlessly, while at the back the sprinters suffered. Fans cheered, fans booed, and sadly a few motos got a bit too close.
Quote of the day:
“Just heard about the crash of Vincenzo Nibali, feel really sorry for what happened, full effort, no radio, absolutely not my intention to take any advantage of that. Please respect our efforts, we all share the same passion, let’s do it fair.” Romain Bardet on Twitter after hearing the news Nibali was taken down while he was attacking.
Story of the day: Welcome to the Peter Sagan show
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) looks set to end the 2018 Tour de France with a haul of stage wins after the Alps claimed many of the fast men over the last three days. He already holds over a 200-point lead in the green jersey competition.
On stage 12, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) all climbed into the car during the stage. The latter two were two-time stage winners at this year’s Tour and notably were the stage winners on the flat stages that Sagan didn’t win.
This trio of abandons came a day after Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) both finished outside the time limit on stage 12.
Realistically, Sagan has five stages left to add to his tally of two, which he captured in the opening week of the race. Three of the stages (13, 18, and 21) are pure sprint finishes. Stage 14 finishes in Mende with a three-kilometre climb that averages 10-percent and stage 15 has a category one climb that peaks 40 kilometres from the finish.
It’s important to note that Sagan made public on Wednesday night that he is going through a divorce with his partner Kate. The two had been married less than three years and had a son, Marlon, in late October. It remains to be seen how this will affect Sagan now that the news has been made public.
After a long and thoughtful discussion, Kate and I have come to the conclusion that we would be much better if we…
Dispatches from the Tour
Alpe d’Huez glory in yellow: Thomas wins stage 12 of the Tour de France
Having won Wednesday’s 11th stage and taken the yellow jersey, Geraint Thomas was again first to the line on Thursday’s stage to Alpe d’Huez. The Team Sky rider rode for Chris Froome on the final climb, but was able to come back to him after his subsequent attack was snuffed out by Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb). These three plus Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) continued their tussle to the top, with lulls in pace enabling a dropped Mikel Landa (Movistar) to get back on with a kilometre to go.
The five then sprinted it out for the win, with Thomas diving into the final corner, getting a gap and holding off Dumoulin to the line. The race leader beat the Dutchman by two seconds, with Bardet and Froome a further second back.
“I am speechless. I don’t know what to say,” admitted Thomas. “There is not a chance in hell I thought I was going to win today. I just followed Dumoulin, Bardet and Froomey. I rode over [Nibali’s] back wheel, I nearly came down myself. It is just unbelievable. I did say yesterday this race is made [up] for me now. Today that’s it – I can be happy now, for sure.”
Click through to read our full report on Thomas’ win on stage 12 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Nibali knocked off by fan, later abandons race
Vincenzo Nibali was brought to the ground after tangling with a fan’s camera strap on Alpe d’Huez, less than five kilometres from the finish. He abandoned the race a few hours after the stage ended with a vertebral fracture of the tenth thoracic vertebra.
“I have some back pain after the crash, will check with my osteopath at the hotel,” Nibali told French 2 television right after the stage. “There were many motos around, I tried to follow Froome, and I crashed into a moto when it stopped.”
While Nibali said at the finish he was taken out by a moto, the fan video below clearly shows it was indeed a camera strap that caused him to crash. In hindsight, the result is quite remarkable considering he rode the last few kilometres with a fractured vertebra.
— Diego Alvarez (@diegoalvarez12) July 19, 2018
Uran heads home, as Roubaix injuries take their toll
Prior to stage 12, last year’s Tour runner-up Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) pulled out of the Tour. The Colombian crashed heavily on Sunday’s Roubaix stage, resulting in pain his left leg and arm and compromising his ability to pedal, the team said in a press release.
“Today I have to share some bad news,” said Uran. “I didn’t recover after the crash. Yesterday in the first real climb, all day, there was pain in my body. It’s difficult for me and also for my team. We prepared for this Tour, all season we were focused on the Tour. Sometimes this happens, and this time, I think it’s the best decision for me to recover and to recover well.”
With their general classification ambitions headed home, EF Education First-Drapac switched into stage hunting mode and put multiple riders up the road during stage 12. Pierre Rolland, a former winner atop Alpe d’Huez put in a solid effort, but ultimately finished the stage down in 25th place.
Tomorrow’s Tour stage
Start: Bourg d’Oisans
After three days in the Alps, the Tour will leave the mountains to head to flatter terrain. The favourites should enjoy a well-deserved break, while the sprinters come out to play. With many sprinters have already abandoned it could be the day for Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) to take his first stage win.
Quick-Step Floors signs junior road race and ITT European Champion
18-year-old Remco Evenepoel, who has been racing for just over a year, has signed a two-year contract beginning in 2019 with Quick-Step Floors, the team announced.
The Belgian has quickly shown himself as a classics rider, which fits into Quick-Step’s team dynamics. Evenepoel won the junior edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and the Guido Reybrouck Classic. He also finished 11th at the junior Gent-Wevelgem. Evenepoel claimed the junior Belgian national titles in both the road race and time trial as well as sweeping the European championships
“I feel really lucky and ready to listen and learn from everybody, be it Mr. Lefevere, my teammates, soigneurs or mechanics,” Evenepoel said. “I already know guys like Yves [Lampaert] and Iljo [Keisse] quite well and met most of the team during last January’s training camp, so I just know I will be in the best hands, which makes everything very exciting ahead of next season.”
Tweet of the day
La Course and Giro Rosa winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) is taking a break to reset for the second half of the season. She did so by enjoying Dutch corner on Alpe d’Huez.
— Annemiek van Vleuten (@AvVleuten) July 19, 2018
Stat of the day
A total of 10 riders either did not start, abandoned, or were outside the time cut on stage 12. This brings the Tour peloton down to 152 riders.
— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 19, 2018
A Cyclingtips Vlog: La Course 2018 by le Tour de France
Caley Fretz and Dave Everett skipped the start of the Tour de France for a day to instead focus on what would turn out to be some pretty damn exciting and nailbiting racing, the women’s La Course, a single day race organised by the ASO on the same roads the TDF tackle.
Women’s bikes of La Course by Le Tour 2018
We took a look at the bikes that lined up at the start of the 2018 La Course. There are some impressive and surprising setups.
Tour de France stage 12 highlights
Tour de France on-board stage 12 highlights