Tour de France: Stage 18 – Riblon wins on Alpe-d’Huez


Riblon has won an epic 173 kilometre stage after twice over Alpe-d’Huez in a race from Gap / Alpe-d’Huez

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Viva la France as Christophe Riblon conquers Alpe d’Huez


Whilst Riblon got the win that all of France was waiting impatiently for, the day saw the race leader Chris Froome loose time to some of his general classification rivals whilst also increasing his advantage on the rider in second place, Alberto Contador, despite being docked 20 seconds for illegal feeding.

The stage was one of the most thrilling for many a year despite the fireworks not kicking off in a big way until the final climb of Alpe d’Huez which was lined with fans and a fair percentage of idiots as well.

Whilst the stage victory looked to be heading to BMC’s Tejay van Garderen, proud Frenchman Christophe Riblon made a do or die effort with 5k to go and it paid off as he caught, passed and put almost a minute into the American in a few k of the climb.

But whilst that was exciting enough, too exciting for the TV directors to know which riders to follow it seemed, back down the mountain the stage was lit up by the Movistar team. Contador’s team of Saxobank had tried to be aggressive but everything they tried was a big failure including sending two riders up the road prior to the climbs of Alpe d’Huez.

Even when Contador, 2nd overall, and third overall, Roman Kreuziger (both Saxobank) went up the road after that, they failed to get far and when they were caught, promptly went backwards not helped by a bike change for Contador.

The big action though was when Movistar went for it at the front. Froome did his best to put in a few accelerations and did some damage in doing so, but the truth be told, he appeared to struggle to hold the wheel of teammate Richie Porte and when Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez attacked, Froome time and time again fought his way into their wheels.

Behind it was carnage with all the other GC contenders losing time but there was a lot of Froome and Porte talking into race radios and Froome was struggling. Porte had to wait several times for him and then drama as the arm of Froome went up. He wanted food or a drink. It was a gel as he was low on sugar and wilting on the big mountain.

Porte, ever the dutiful servant, went back for it and when that was done, led his master to the finish a minute down on Quintana and Rodriguez. Behind them, Contador kept his second place, just, but Kreuziger lost his and Quintana moved into a podium place. With a minute between four riders and still more mountains to be raced, the battle for the podium is getting better every stage.

Stage 18 saw many questions answered about who were the strongest in the 100th Tour de France. This was the much anticipated stage from Gap to Alpe d’Huez that boasted two ascents of the famous 21-hairpin climb to the ski station in the Isère department.

After almost three weeks of racing in dry conditions, the heavens opened and rain fell for much of the day. There were 177 riders at the sign on with Jean-Christophe Peraud (ALM) the casualty of the time trial to Chorges in stage 17.

On the itinerary for the final Thursday of Le Tour 2013 were six categorised climbs: the col de Manse (cat-2 at 13km), Rampe du Motty (cat-3 at 45km), col d’Ormon (cat-3 at 95km), the first ascent of Alpe d’Huez (‘HC’ at 122.5km), the col de Sarenne (cat-2 at 131.5km) followed by the climb to the finish at Alpe d’Huez where double points were on offer.

Nine break free after first climb
The official start was at 12.30pm. There were a series of attacks but none were successful in the opening half hour but the chase did see the race split wide open for a while.

Former Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal (GRS) led over the first climb and, around the same time, Evans (BMC) was dropped from the peloton that was moving at a rapid pace. Saxo-Tinkoff had Hernandez and Rogers forcing the pace and Froome reacted to the early moves of the Australian who was his team-mate in 2012.

At 17km, nine riders broke free and the riders involved were Voigt (RTL), Jeannesson (FDJ), Riblon (ALM), Amador (MOV), Chavanel (OPQ), Boom (BEL), Danielson (GRS), van Garderen (BMC), Moser (CAN). At 30km, they were ahead by 3’00” and rain started to fall. By 35km, the nine led by 5’40”. Lutsenko (AST) abandoned before the second climb. Roche and Paulinho (TST) attacked the peloton before the Rampe du Motty and were 5’25” behind the escapees at the top (45km), the peloton was at 5’40”. The average speed for the first hour was 44.6km/h; the second hour, 41.8km/h.

At the foot of the col d’Ornon, Roche and Paulinho were 5’25” behind the nine and the peloton was at 8’20” which was the biggest gain of the escape.

Alpe d’Huez: part 01
Van Garderen attacked the lead group at the base of the first climb up Alpe d’Huez. The counter-attack was at 6’15” and the peloton at 7’35”. Rolland and Voeckler attacked the peloton and were joined by Poels (VCD) and Nieve (EUS).

Sky had five riders at the head of the peloton that also saw a brief sortie from Talansky (GRS) around the halfway mark of the climb and he was followed by Andy Schleck who went up the road. The American was caught quickly but the Luxembourger bridged the gap to Nieve’s group while Voeckler dropped back to the peloton.

Moser and Riblon caught van Garderen in the last kilometre of the climb and Moser led over the top. Voigt was 4th at 55”, Danielson 5th at 1’30”, Jeannesson 6th at 1’40”, Boom 7th at 2’15”, Amador 8th at 2’45” and Chavanel 9th at 3’05”. The Schleck/Nieve/Rolland/Poels group was at 7’20” and the peloton was behind by 8’18” at the top.

Col de Sarenne: Van Garderen and Riblon hindered on descent
Van Garderen led over the penultimate climb but on the descent his chain got stuck and he lost contact with Riblon and Moser. There was an attack from Contador and Kreuziger on the way down but it never gained any more than 20” on the yellow jersey.

Riblon meanwhile went off the road and lost contact with Moser but caught him with 25km to go; van Garderen then caught the leading pair 17km from the finish. They began the second climb to Alpe d’Huez with a lead of 45” on Voigt.

Contador cracks; Froome falters…
On the second ascent of Alpe d’Huez, three men arrived at the bottom together: Van Garderen, Riblon and Moser. The American attacked early. He would ride all the way to the 2.4km to go mark on his own but Riblon never gave up hope: he lost up to 40” but then slowly clawed his way back up to the leader.

Once Riblon caught Van Garderen he immediately attacked and would go on to claim his team’s first victory in the 100th Tour de France and the first for France. He beat his American rival by 59”. Meanwhile, there were significant changes to GC taking place.

Mollema and Ten Dam cracked in the first kilometre of the final climb and would slide down the rankings from 4th and 7th to 6th and 10th… and there was movement up ahead as Quintana attacked and Froome followed. This prompted a pursuit from the Katusha: Moreno and Rodriguez who set the pace of the yellow jersey group and this eliminated Contador and Kreuziger from the group with about 12km to climb.

Froome found himself in a crisis and was calling for the team car… initially it seemed like it might have been a mechanical but it was his body that needed help, a sugar or caffeine rush.

Froome was ultimately paced to the line by Porte and the pair finished 1’13” behind Quintana and 3’18” behind the stage winner. Froome was seventh on the stage and gained time on his nearest rival, Contador (who dropped down to 5’11” behind on the GC).

The Spaniard was 11th on the stage and lost 57” to Froome but the fact that he was helped to the finish by Rogers and Kreuziger means that there are three from the Saxo-Tinkoff team in the top 10 overall: Contador 2nd, Kreuziger 4th and Rogers 8th.

Quintana though moved up to third overall with his fourth place in the stage. He now has 97pts in the climbing classification, seven less than Froome who still leads this category as well as the overall rankings. Froome will wear the yellow jersey in stage 19.


Chris Froome: “This was definitely one of the harder days”

“Richie Porte is a really great guy. I mean, he put aside all his ambitions in this race to help keep the jersey on my shoulders and he did such a good job today – really fantastic. I mean he paced me through that whole climb basically. It was really hard to talk on that climb, there was just so much noise going through all those people so to be able to talk we had to get really close to each other but it was just talking to dictate what pace we should carry on at just to try and get through the stage.

“It was a really hard day today but I think, all in all, it’s a really good day for us – just extending the lead on general classification. Also, something else about today: it’s Nelson Mandela Day and I would like, from my point of view, to inspire a lot of young Africans to be able to achieve their ambitions today.”

“I’m not sure about the technicality of the time penalty – if Richie is going to get it or if I’m going to get the penalty – but it’s understandable. I really felt that I needed those sugars in the final, so if it comes with a 20 second penalty, then I have to accept that.”

“This was definitely one of the harder days that we’ve seen in this Tour but I think that’s to be expected: two times up Alpe d’Huez and this late in the race, it’s definitely a hard day and also keeping in mind what’s coming up tomorrow.”

“We had a little mechanical problem with the car a little bit further back and we weren’t able to feed from the car before the climb so at that point, I just thought, ‘Okay, we don’t really have any other option…’ with five kilometres to go we made the decision to try and get something but even though it’s cost us another 20 seconds. If we look at the bigger picture here and what we’ve done, we’ve just extended our lead. If that’s a bad day, I’ll definitely take that.”
Christophe Riblon “When I was about eight years old, I saw on the TV a victory of a cyclist at Alpe d’Huez and I hoped that one day maybe I could do it too. Today, when I saw at the start of the climb that van Garderen attacked me I knew I couldn’t follow him and I told myself, ‘S—, I finish second like two days ago…’ After, at three kilometres from the finish, I saw him and he didn’t look good so I started to believe in my good luck. I sprinted and the public supported me and I’m in the clouds!”

“It was a crazy final. At five kilometres to go, I no longer believed it was possible. But Julien Jurdie was in the car, and he still believed in me and never stopped encouraging me, saying, ‘He’s bonked, you’ll catch him!’ At that time, I was riding for second place so I was giving it my all on the climb. Then, when I saw him ahead of me, I realised he had the very distinctive position of a rider who is not coping. So I came back up to him, and I absolutely did not want to leave him any hope that he could accompany me… I had no hesitation and I immediately attacked. It’s a huge thrill to see the race reversed.”

“I remember the last time when Pierre Rolland won here, I thought I missed something, and this time it’s great to raise my arms at Alpe d’Huez. On this Tour, the team fought hard but we lost two riders with fractures, Maxime Bouet and early Jean-Christophe Péraud yesterday. This morning, we are told that we had to ward off bad luck, and finish our tour with our heads high.”

Nairo Quintana: I’ve never been as happy as I am today. As I was already tired this morning, it was good to have a cooler stage, without really hot conditions – this suits me better because I didn’t think I would have the legs to attack Froome at the finish. The objective is still to finish on the podium. It’s a dream for me to achieve that. As for getting both – the climbing classification and a place on the podium – it’s not done yet but it would be unreal.”

“I’ve never been as happy as I am today: I’ve gone from sixth to third overall, I’ve taken one minute out of Froome’s lead… I didn’t realise that he had some problems but my timing was ideal. I had a bit of luck. Tomorrow and the next day are very hard stages so have to recover quickly and get ready for the challenges that lie ahead… but I accept that winning this Tour is no longer an obtainable objective – the gap to Froome is too big.”

1 RIBLON Christophe AG2R La Mondiale 04:51:32
2 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team 00:59
3 MOSER Moreno Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 01:27
4 QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander Movistar Team 02:12
5 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 02:15
6 PORTE Richie Sky Procycling 03:18
7 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling @ st
8 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team 03:22
9 NIEVE ITURALDE Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi 04:15
10 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team @ st
11 CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
12 KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff 04:31
13 ROGERS Michael Team Saxo-Tinkoff 04:45
14 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin – Sharp 04:49
15 SERPA PEREZ Jose Rodolfo Lampre – Merida 05:18
16 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale 05:40
17 ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
18 GADRET John AG2R La Mondiale 05:42
19 DE MARCHI Alessandro Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 05:47
20 DE CLERCQ Bart Lotto Belisol Team 05:56
21 MORENO FERNáNDEZ Daniel Katusha Team 06:08
22 POELS Wout Vacansoleil – DCM 06:10
23 NAVARRO GARCIA Daniel Cofidis Solutions Crédits 06:13
24 GENIEZ Alexandre Equipe Cycliste @ st
25 GESINK Robert Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
26 MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
27 ROLLAND Pierre Team Europcar 06:19
28 MONFORT Maxime RadioShack – Leopard 06:30
29 BAKELANTS Jan RadioShack – Leopard 06:45
30 JEANNESSON Arnold Equipe Cycliste 06:59
31 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 07:06
32 NORDHAUG Lars Petter Belkin Pro Cycling Team 07:09
33 LEVARLET Guillaume Cofidis Solutions Crédits 09:09
34 CUNEGO Damiano Lampre – Merida 09:17
35 DUPONT Hubert AG2R La Mondiale 09:34
36 CHAVANEL Sylvain Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
37 TEN DAM Laurens Belkin Pro Cycling Team 09:54
38 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar @ st
39 BOOM Lars Belkin Pro Cycling Team 10:59
40 SCHLECK Andy RadioShack – Leopard 11:23
41 VUILLERMOZ Alexis Sojasun 11:32
42 DANIELSON Thomas Garmin – Sharp 12:52
43 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin – Sharp @ st
44 FEDRIGO Pierrick Equipe Cycliste 13:08
45 GAUTIER Cyril Team Europcar @ st
46 ZUBELDIA AGIRRE Haimar RadioShack – Leopard @ st
47 VELITS Peter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
48 MORABITO Steve BMC Racing Team 13:35
49 NIEMIEC Przemyslaw Lampre – Merida 14:04
50 ASTARLOZA CHAURREAU Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi 14:50
51 VOIGT Jens RadioShack – Leopard 15:34
52 KENNAUGH Peter Sky Procycling 16:12
53 HERNáNDEZ BLAZQUEZ Jesús Team Saxo-Tinkoff 16:47
54 PLAZA MOLINA Ruben Movistar Team 19:42
55 DIDIER Laurent RadioShack – Leopard 20:59
56 AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA Andrey Movistar Team 21:45
57 CASTROVIEJO Jonathan Movistar Team @ st
58 HOOGERLAND Johnny Vacansoleil – DCM 22:16
59 HANSEN Adam Lotto Belisol Team @ st
60 EL FARES Julien Sojasun @ st
61 LAGUTIN Sergey Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
62 VORGANOV Eduard Katusha Team @ st
63 GESCHKE Simon Team Argos – Shimano 22:30
64 MINARD Sébastien AG2R La Mondiale 22:33
65 ARASHIRO Yukiya Team Europcar 24:20:00
66 GAVAZZI Francesco Astana Pro Team 24:22:00
67 BURGHARDT Marcus BMC Racing Team 24:57:00
68 BAK Lars Ytting Lotto Belisol Team 25:10:00
69 BAUER Jack Garmin – Sharp @ st
70 LOPEZ GARCIA David Sky Procycling @ st
71 ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin Movistar Team @ st
72 DE KORT Koen Team Argos – Shimano @ st
73 DUMOULIN Tom Team Argos – Shimano @ st
74 ERVITI OLLO Imanol Movistar Team @ st
75 DE GENDT Thomas Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
76 MARTIN Daniel Garmin – Sharp @ st
77 VEILLEUX David Team Europcar @ st
78 KOREN Kristjan Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
79 COSTA Rui Movistar Team @ st
80 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team @ st
81 MORI Manuele Lampre – Merida @ st
82 DELAPLACE Anthony Sojasun @ st
83 GALLOPIN Tony RadioShack – Leopard @ st
84 IRIZAR ARANBURU Markel RadioShack – Leopard @ st
85 TANKINK Bram Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
86 MALACARNE Davide Team Europcar @ st
87 SIUTSOU Kanstantsin Sky Procycling @ st
88 SICARD Romain Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
89 SIMON Julien Sojasun @ st
90 BOOKWALTER Brent BMC Racing Team @ st
91 REZA Kevin Team Europcar @ st
92 COPPEL Jérome Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
93 WESTRA Lieuwe Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
94 MATE MARDONES Luis Angel Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
95 VICHOT Arthur Equipe Cycliste @ st
96 FLECHA Juan Antonio Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
97 KL̦DEN Andr̩as RadioShack РLeopard @ st
98 MOINARD Amaël BMC Racing Team @ st
99 COUSIN Jérôme Team Europcar @ st
100 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ st
101 ALBASINI Michael Orica GreenEDGE @ st
102 VAN POPPEL Boy Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
103 THOMAS Geraint Sky Procycling @ st
104 STANNARD Ian Sky Procycling @ st
105 VANMARCKE Sep Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
106 TOSATTO Matteo Team Saxo-Tinkoff 25:47:00
107 FISCHER Murilo Antonio Equipe Cycliste @ st
108 MARANGONI Alan Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 25:49:00
109 DEGENKOLB John Team Argos – Shimano @ st
110 GENE Yohann Team Europcar 26:08:00
111 SMUKULIS Gatis Katusha Team 26:25:00
112 TIMMER Albert Team Argos – Shimano 26:38:00
113 SABATINI Fabio Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 27:06:00
114 SAGAN Peter Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
115 IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Ion Euskaltel – Euskadi 28:13:00
116 MOLARD Rudy Cofidis Solutions Crédits 29:09:00
117 LEEZER Tom Belkin Pro Cycling Team 29:17:00
118 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 30:03:00
119 BOECKMANS Kris Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
120 CURVERS Roy Team Argos – Shimano @ st
121 FROHLINGER Johannes Team Argos – Shimano @ st
122 GASPAROTTO Enrico Astana Pro Team @ st
123 QUINZIATO Manuel BMC Racing Team @ st
124 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team @ st
125 PEREZ MORENO Ruben Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
126 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ st
127 LANCASTER Brett Orica GreenEDGE @ st
128 ROELANDTS Jurgen Lotto Belisol Team @ st
129 IMPEY Daryl Orica GreenEDGE @ st
130 GOSS Matthew Orica GreenEDGE @ st
131 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
132 KITTEL Marcel Team Argos – Shimano @ st
133 BODNAR Maciej Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
134 GREIPEL Andre Lotto Belisol Team @ st
135 VANDBORG Brian Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
136 OROZ UGALDE Juan Jos̩ Euskaltel РEuskadi @ st
137 TROFIMOV Yuri Katusha Team @ st
138 MILLAR David Garmin – Sharp @ st
139 PINEAU J̩rome Omega Pharma РQuick-Step @ st
140 GARCíA ETXEGIBEL Egoitz Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
141 WYNANTS Maarten Belkin Pro Cycling Team @ st
142 LE MEVEL Christophe Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
143 STEEGMANS Gert Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
144 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale @ st
145 LOSADA ALGUACIL Alberto Katusha Team @ st
146 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
147 WILLEMS Frederik Lotto Belisol Team @ st
148 KADRI Blel AG2R La Mondiale @ st
149 MEYER Cameron Orica GreenEDGE @ st
150 HIVERT Jonathan Sojasun @ st
151 FAVILLI Elia Lampre – Merida @ st
152 LEMOINE Cyril Sojasun @ st
153 TAARAMäE Rein Cofidis Solutions Crédits @ st
154 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas Garmin – Sharp @ st
155 MARTIN Tony Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
156 BRUTT Pavel Katusha Team @ st
157 KRISTOFF Alexander Katusha Team @ st
158 TUFT Svein Orica GreenEDGE @ st
159 KUSCHYNSKI Aleksandr Katusha Team @ st
160 BAZAYEV Assan Astana Pro Team @ st
161 MEDEREL Maxime Sojasun @ st
162 ROY Jérémy Equipe Cycliste @ st
163 MURAVYEV Dmitriy Astana Pro Team @ st
164 HENDERSON Gregory Lotto Belisol Team @ st
165 FEILLU Brice Sojasun @ st
166 O’GRADY Stuart Orica GreenEDGE @ st
167 SIEBERG Marcel Lotto Belisol Team @ st
168 MARINO Jean Marc Sojasun 30:16:00
169 FERRARI Roberto Lampre – Merida 30:26:00
170 MOREIRA PAULINHO Sergio Miguel Team Saxo-Tinkoff 30:51:00
171 CIMOLAI Davide Lampre – Merida 32:02:00
172 TRENTIN Matteo Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
173 LOBATO DEL VALLE Juan Jose Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
174 BENNATI Daniele Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
175 VEELERS Tom Team Argos – Shimano 33:18:00

1 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling 71:02:19
2 CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto Team Saxo-Tinkoff 05:11
3 QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander Movistar Team 05:32
4 KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff 05:44
5 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 05:58
6 MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin Pro Cycling Team 08:58
7 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team 09:33
8 ROGERS Michael Team Saxo-Tinkoff 14:26
9 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 14:38
10 TEN DAM Laurens Belkin Pro Cycling Team 14:39
11 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team 14:56
12 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin – Sharp 16:24
13 NAVARRO GARCIA Daniel Cofidis Solutions Crédits 19:18
14 MONFORT Maxime RadioShack – Leopard 19:56
15 NIEVE ITURALDE Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi 24:13:00
16 MORENO FERNáNDEZ Daniel Katusha Team 30:05:00
17 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale 30:45:00
18 SCHLECK Andy RadioShack – Leopard 31:19:00
19 MARTIN Daniel Garmin – Sharp 34:22:00
20 PORTE Richie Sky Procycling 37:42:00
21 BAKELANTS Jan RadioShack – Leopard 40:08:00


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