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Sunweb put on an exhibition of teamwork into Lyon, attacking one after another to propel Soren Kragh Andersen to a solo victory in stage 14, taking advantage of a hilly, technical finale to pull one over on the sprinters.
Luca Mezgec of Mitchelton-Scott led the reduced peloton across the line for second, followed by Cofidis’ Simone Consonni.
Peter Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe squad grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck early on, using the early climbs to distance both the green jersey of Sam Bennett and Caleb Ewan. If we needed proof that Sagan still wants green, look no further than the workload he tasked his Bora teammates with on Saturday.
It didn’t have the desired result, as Sagan crossed the line in fourth. His path to green remains difficult.
The day was uneventful for the GC riders, who were content to get through Lyon’s suburbs wihout an altercation with any road furniture. Richie Porte had a brief scare on the penultimate climb, but quickly returned to the peloton.
How it happened
The outskirts of Lyon were littered with road furniture, narrow sections, and sharp turns making for a nervous bunch as the finish approached. Jumbo-Visma and Ineos kept their GC men at the front into the base of the two small category 4 climbs that sat inside the last 11km.
Sunweb’s Tiesj Benoot was the first to hit out at the base of the first, as Ineos and Jumbo tapped out a tempo behind. His gap extended quickly to 15 seconds.
Bora was having none of it. After descending off the first cat 4, it was all back together.
Bora’s Emanuel Buchmann was the next to make an effort, followed by Lotto-Soudal’s Thomas de Gent, and then Julian Alaphilippe. The final climb of the day was packed full of fans and the attackers whipped around three large switchbacks with the peloton right on their heels.
Sunweb’s Marc Hirschi, fresh off a stage win, went over the top and found himself chased by none other than Sagan himself, along with Greg van Avermaet. The group lacked drive, though, and slowed once again.
Sunweb went again, this time with Kragh Andersen, over the top of the final climb. With 1.5km remaining he had a narrow gap, around 10 seconds, with no real organization behind. He held it to the line.
More to come.