Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) won the sprint which concluded the 18th stage of the Tour de France, on Thursday, at Pau, in front of another Frenchman, Christophe Laporte. The top of the ranking, still led by the Welsh Geraint Thomas (Sky), remained unchanged before the last step pyrenees.
Démare has signed the third French success of this edition, after the two victories of Julian Alaphilippe. He had already established itself in the Tour last year to Vittel.
Behind Démare and Laporte, the Norwegian Alexander Kristoff took the third place. The world champion, the Slovak Peter Sagan, ranked eighth, in the aftermath of his fall in the descent of’azet.
In big trouble in the mountain stages, the Picard concluded the work of his team, who had muzzled the breakaway of the day, launched at the start, five riders. Two former winners of Paris-Roubaix, the Dutch Niki terpstra test and the Australian Mathew Hayman, the Frenchman Thomas Boudat, the Belgian Guillaume Will Keirlsbuck and the Australian Luke Durbridge rode it hard without being able to have more than two minutes ahead.
“I’ve thought Greipel”
The escapees were joined at 17 kilometers from the conclusion of this stage of 171 kilometres, under a strong heat. “I am not beaten for nothing, I have nothing let go in the mountains and today it pays”, said the winner of the day who thanked his team for the big work done.
“I’ve thought Greipel” said Démare about the German rider who had questioned in the previous step by the suspicion of having been helped on the last climb.
The Frenchman, who is 26 years old and has 50 wins to his credit. World Champion hopes in 2011, he has won Milan-Sanremo in 2016.
In the course of the stage, the Colombian Nairo Quintana has dropped, at the same time that the British Adam Yates. The winner of the stage on the col du Portet has taken place then in the pack. Friday, the 19th step over the remaining passes of the pyrenees between Lourdes and Laruns on a route stretching 200.5 kilometres. After the Aspin and the Tourmalet, the Aubisque pass is the latest difficulty to the summit, located 20 kilometres from the finish found at the bottom of the descent.
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