TOUR’18 Stage 11: Stage And Yellow For Geraint Thomas!
Stage Report: The big break of the day looked like it would be the winning move, but it exploded as the GC men lifted the pace on the final climb of stage 11. With a bold move, Geraint Thomas (Sky) launched himself up the Summit finish for stage and overall glory. His team leader, Chris Froome wasn’t far behind and is now second overall to Thomas at 1:25.
With 300 meters to go of stage 11 it looked like Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) was going to take the victory on the summit of La Rosière, but Sky’s Geraint Thomas came hammering past him for the stage and the overall lead. That wasn’t the end of Nieve’s bad luck as Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), Chris Froome (Sky) and Damiano Caruso (BMC) all passed the spaniard in the final pedal strokes of the toughest stage in this Tour de France yet.
Four big climbs for the peloton to tackle on the short 108.5 kilometer stage 11 with the first summit finish of the 2018 Tour. Two HC Cat climbs open the day; the Montéé de Bisanne and the Col du Pré, they are followed by the Cat 2 Cormet de Roselend. The summit finish in on La Rosière, 17.6 kilometers long with two sections of over 9%, climbing from 837 meters to 1,855 meters altitude.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) rode away with Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Damiano Caruso (BMC), Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Dani Navarro (Cofidis) to win the intermediate sprint at Villard-sur-Doron. The green jersey holder was first to drop back to the peloton while several counter attacks took shape. 20 riders formed the front group at this point on the hors-category Montée de Bisanne where Alaphilippe extended his lead in the KOM competition.
Thirty riders eventually made up the vital break of stage 11, they were: KOM and stage 10 winner, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), Warren Barguil, Maxime Bouet, Elie Gesbert and Amaël Moinard (Fortuneo-Samsic), Romain Sicard, Jerome Cousin and Rein Taaramäe (Direct Energie), Damiano Caruso, Stefan Küng and Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Anthony Perez and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Mathias Frank (AG2R-La Mondiale), Spanish National road champion Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida), Marc Soler (Movistar), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Valgren Andersen and Tanel Kangert (Astana), Thomas De Gendt and Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac), Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb), Rudy Molard and Arthur Vichot (Groupama-FDJ), Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and the final man to cross to the leaders, Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates).
Team Sky ruled the peloton until Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) launched an attack 5 kilometers before the top of the Col du Pré where defending King of the Mountains Barguil took 20 points in his quest for a second polka dot jersey.
Alaphilippe paid for his efforts of the first Alpine stage and was brought back by the pack. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) who has been the race leader for eight days stopped fighting for his position on GC on the ascent to Col du Pré. Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Valverde and Geraint Thomas (Sky) were fighting for the virtual yellow jersey.
Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Michael Valgren (Astana), Caruso, Barguil and Amaël Moinard (Fortuneo-Samsic) started the final climb to La Rosière in the lead while Tom Dumoulin and Soren Kragh (Sunweb) combined forces with Valverde and Marc Soler (Movistar). It was an interesting move by Valverde and Dumoulin, two serious challengers of favorites Team Sky.
Nieve went solo 9 kilometers before the finish. Only in the last kilometer, he was passed by Thomas who had attacked from the main group to catch Dumoulin. The Welshman took his first non time trial stage of the Tour de France ahead of Dumoulin and Froome who sits in second place overall 1:25 down on his team-mate.
Stage 11 winner and overall leader, Geraint Thomas (Sky): “It’s unreal I didn’t expect it at all. We were low on numbers so it was more instinct [to attack] so we didn’t get caught having to ride – I saw a little gap. I committed to going across to Dumoulin and I was able to sit on of course, as Froome was coming across and I could see Frosty [Mikel Nieve] and he’s a good mate, it’s a shame you know, but I had to go for the win. I knew there was a good chance [of going into yellow] but I didn’t know how everyone else was going to ride. Wearing the yellow jersey is a massive honor. I managed to do it last year and to do it two years in a row is really nice. We were expecting attacks and when they go, it’s never nice to see them going away but we had confidence in each other and rode really well.”
Tour de France Stage 11 Result:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 3:29:36
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:20
3. Chris Froome (GB) Sky
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:22
5. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 0:27
7. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:57
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:59
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
11. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
12. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:07
13. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 1:47
14. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky
15. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:58
16. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 2:51
17. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:59
18. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 3:06
19. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 3:08
20. Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
21. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 3:30
22. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
23. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
24. Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 3:41
25. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 3:53.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 11:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 44:06:16
2. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1:25
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 1:44
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 2:14
5. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo at 2:23
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 2:40
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 2:56
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:58
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3:16
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates
11. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 4:28
12. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 4:53
13. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 4:58
14. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:21
15. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 5:50
16. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:51
17. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 6:36
18. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 10:01
19. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data at 10:30
20. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale at 11:46
21. Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic at 12:46
22. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 13:19
23. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 13:45
24. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 13:49
25. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 14:50.