Quintana wins Tour stage 18 as Alaphilippe keeps yellow: Daily News Digest

by Dane Cash

Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Nairo Quintana attacks out of the breakaway on the Galibier and holds on to win stage 18 of the Tour de France, Egan Bernal surges into second overall but Julian Alaphilippe remains in yellow, Tony Martin and Luke Rowe out of the Tour despite joint appeal. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Quintana wins Tour de France stage 18 as Alaphilippe holds onto yellow

Nairo Quintana soloed out of the breakaway to win Thursday’s stage 18 of the Tour de France in Valloire. The Colombian delivered a powerful attack to leave a small group of surviving escapees behind on the slopes of the Galibier, and held on to take the victory, with Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) taking second on the day and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) nabbing third.

“This a reflection of all the hard work we’ve done,” Quintana said. “Things haven’t gone the way we’d hoped, but we kept at it. We didn’t let ourselves stop pushing.”

Nairo Quintana wins stage 18 of the Tour de France. Photo: Peter de Voecht/PN/Cor Vos ©

Several minutes behind the breakaway, Egan Bernal (Ineos) gave Colombian fans another reason to cheer. The leader of the youth classification attacked on the Galibier and surged into second place overall on the day.

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), however, remains in the yellow jersey after putting in another impressive ride in the mountains. The Frenchman was briefly distanced near the top of the Galibier but rejoined the main GC group on the descent.

The 2018-kilometer stage from Embrun was the first of three hard days in the Alps. Quintana, Bardet, and Lutsenko were just a few of the notable names to join a big breakaway move about an hour into the stage, with Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Michael Woods (EF Education First), and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) also among the more than 30 riders in the escape.

The challenging profile whittled away at the break over the course of the day, and attacks  on the day’s penultimate climb, the Col d’Izoard, split the break into smaller groups. A selection of strong climbers coalesced into a lead group, however, on the run-in to the Galibier.

Quintana made his move with around seven kilometers to go to the top of the massive climb, some 27 kilometers from the stage finish. No one could match his acceleration out of the break, and he quickly opened up a gap of half a minute on the rest of the escapees. Bardet and Lutsenko eventually formed a chase, and then Bardet dropped Lutsenko near the top of the climb, but Quintana was well out of reach. Quintana would take the stage 18 victory 1:35 ahead of Bardet, and the Colombian also jumped up to seventh overall, one spot ahead of Movistar teammate Mikel Landa.

Bardet’s efforts on the day did earn him a consolation prize, however—the Frenchman now leads the Tour de France mountains classification.

In the GC group several minutes behind the break, Ineos set the tempo for most of the way up the Galibier until Bernal unleashed an attack a few kilometers from the top. He did not immediately open up a big gap, but he kept pushing as Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Enric Mas hit the front to chase for his team leader Alaphilippe. Soon enough, Bernal’s surge proved too big for Mas to match, and the 22-year-old was clear.

Egan Bernal on stage 18 of the Tour de France. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019

The gap started to grow, but Alaphilippe continued to hang on in the group, until defending Tour champ Geraint Thomas (Ineos) put in a big dig near the top of the climb. The move dropped both Alaphilippe and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo). Thomas and the surviving GC hopefuls crested the climb around 30 seconds behind Bernal with a 10-second gap to yellow, but Alaphilippe soon had a chance to put his impressive descending skills on display.

Within a few minutes of cresting the climb, he and Porte both caught back up to the Thomas group.

Bernal stayed clear to the finish to pick up 32 seconds on his GC rivals and move into second overall, but Alaphilippe remains in yellow with two mountain stages remaining at the Tour de France.

Stage 18 results

1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 5:34:15
2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:35
3 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:02:28
4 Lennard Kämna (Ger) Sunweb 0:02:58
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:03:00
6 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:04:46
7 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
8 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos
9 Serge Pauwels (Bel) CCC
10 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:05:18


1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 75:18:49
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos 0:01:30
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos 0:01:35
4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:47
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:50
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:14
7 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 0:03:54
8 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar 0:04:54
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:05:33
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 0:05:58

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Race Radio

Disqualification stands for Rowe and Martin

Although Ineos and Jumbo-Visma linked up to appeal the Tour de France expulsions of Luke Rowe and Tony Martin to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the disqualifications stood as of start time on stage 18. Both riders are officially out of the race, despite the best efforts of the riders and teams to make nice.

Unable to appeal the UCI’s decision, the teams contacted CAS, but Wielerflits reports that there was no resolution of the case by the time the race left Embrun on Thursday morning. Therefore, the expulsions stood.

George Bennett finishes stage 18 despite two bad crashes

29-year-old New Zealander George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) made it to the finish despite crashing on two separate occasions during stage 18.

Bennett hit the deck hard on the descent off the Col de Vars midway through the stage, but was able to remount and ultimately rejoin the peloton. After putting in a strong ride in support of team leader Steven Kruijswijk on the final climb of the Galibier, he crashed on the descent. Nevertheless, he rolled across the finish line in 27th.

Jumbo-Visma riders undergo anti-doping tests less than an hour before stage 18

Anti-doping officials tested several riders on Thursday morning prior to the start of Tour stage 18, with multiple Jumbo-Visma riders undergoing controls just 45 minutes before the stage.

According to TuttoBiciWeb, race leader Julian Alaphilippe and others from Deceuninck-Quick-Step were tested at 6:30 a.m. Then officials went to the Ineos hotel to complete more tests, and then headed to Jumbo-Visma’s hotel to find that they were too late, and that the team had already departed.

As such, they went to the start village and conducted tests on Steven Kruijswijk, Laurens De Plus, and George Bennett on the team bus, less than an hour before the stage start.

“This is my 23rd Tour and I have never experienced this before,” said Jumbo-Visma manager Frans Maassen, according to Sporza. “Deceuninck-Quick Step has had a check-up early this morning. It is also not nice if you wake up riders at 6:30 am but this is the other extreme.”

Coming Up at the Tour

The Alpine action continues on stage 19 of the Tour de France.

The 126.5-kilometer stage from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes traverses five categorized climbs, including the Col de l’Iseran, the highest climb of this year’s Tour. The stage finishes shortly after the first-category Montée de Tignes.

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Feature Image: Nairo Quintana wins stage 18 of the Tour de France. Photo: Peter de Voecht/PN/Cor Vos ©

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