Tour de France: Romain Bardet clinches Stage 18; Froome still in overall lead
As Stage 18 ended, AG2R La Mondiale cyclist Romain Bardet was seen with his hands in the air after sealing his first win of 2015 Tour de France. Chris Froome’s rivals were unable to eat into the race leader’s overall time.
Frenchman Bardet took 5 hours, 3 minutes and 40 seconds to finish the 186.5km stretch from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. Fellow countryman Pierre Roland with Team Europcar finished 33 seconds behind Bardet, while Colombian Winner Anacona, of the Movistar Team, rounded up the top 3.
Bob Jungels of Luxemburg rode his Trek Factory Racing cycle to fourth spot and Dane Jakob Fuglsang from Astana Pro Team finished fifth on the stage. The win lifted Bardet to the top 10 in the overall standings replacing Warren Barguil and he lies in the 10th spot below Bauke Maullema.
Chris Froome is still wearing the yellow jersey after the stage with an overall time of 74 hours 13 minutes and 31 seconds. Anacona’s teammate Nairo Quintana lies in second spot, 3 minutes and 10 seconds behind the Briton. Fellow Movistar Team cyclist Alejandro Valverde is a little over 4 minutes behind Froome’s time and the Spaniard is closely followed by Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas and Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador.
After the win at Stage 18, Bardet admitted that he “felt really well supported” and said that cycling amidst so much noise was like being in a football stadium. He admitted that the fact that knowing the last stretch in the stage was downhill, “was an amazing feeling”.
The race now moves to the 19th stage, which is a 138km trek from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles tomorrow.