Froome remains in yellow as Barguil wins Stage 18

By Martyn Herman, Martyn Herman is a Roar Rookie

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    Tour de France leader Chris Froome has survived a thrilling Col d’Izoard climb while Australia’s green jersey favourite Michael Matthews remains well clear after a thrilling 18th stage.

    Three-time winner Froome held on to his yellow jersey as Frenchman Romain Bardet’s hopes of mounting a decisive attack fizzled out, while Matthews remains 160 points clear of his nearest rival Andre Greipel.

    With Bardet’s countryman Warren Barguil producing a stunning burst on the brutal 14km climb to the summit to claim victory, all eyes were on what was going on back down the twisting road.

    Team Sky’s Froome, who began the final big day of climbing in the Alps with a 27-second lead over Bardet and Rigoberto Uran, was pressurised on the unrelenting slopes as Bardet’s AG2R La Mondiale team tried to loosen his grip.

    But Froome crossed the line just behind Bardet, who he now leads by 23 seconds, with Uran – now 29 seconds behind – also in close support, and now only an extraordinary meltdown or a crash seem likely to stop the Briton taking a fourth Tour title.

    Barguil sealed the polka dot climber’s jersey with a brilliant ride up the iconic Izoard climb, which was staging a summit finish for the first time in Tour history.

    Matthews has been rooming with Sunweb teammate Barguil and was ecstatic at the team’s success.

    “It’s truly incredible, for Warren and for the team,” the Australian told cyclingnews.com

    “Now four stage wins in this Tour de France, and I think we just sealed both jerseys. So in one bedroom in our hotel we have four stage wins and two jerseys in the one room.

    “[The green jersey] is something I’ve dreamed about since I started cycling, basically, watching guys like Robbie (McEwen) winning the green, and all the other Australians: Cookie (Baden Cooke) winning the green, Stewie (Stuart O’Grady) winning the green … now it’s my opportunity to go for it.”

    Friday’s stage is a relatively straightforward 222-km ride south towards the coast before Saturday’s time trial in Marseille, where Froome is likely to extend his lead over his rivals for the yellow jersey.

    © Reuters 2018

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • Roar Guru

      July 21st 2017 @ 10:07am
      Sam Brown said | July 21st 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      It was such a good stage. A huge breakaway, interesting team tactics and lots of attacks once the GC hit the Izoard.

      And what a ride fron Barguil.

      Of course I would love to see more aggression from Sky and Froome but ultimately he didn’t need to gain time and strategically speaking he only needed to match Bardet and Uran.

      • Roar Guru

        July 21st 2017 @ 12:33pm
        Sam Brown said | July 21st 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        Also if you are enjoying the race and like writing you should get involved in our live blogs. The stages are many and the bloggers a few and it is a good bit of fun.

    • July 21st 2017 @ 11:38am
      Albo said | July 21st 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

      Yep ! Another great stage. Froome did exactly what he needed to do and barring a major mishap now, looks home and hosed for the Yellow in Paris. Loved the performance of “Wazza” Barguil last night and in fact all tour . With 2 mountain stage wins and a close up 2nd, he surely looks ready for a tilt at the GC next year ? Sunweb as the newbies to le tour, now look like taking out the King of the Mountains jersey & Green jersey at their very first attempt.

    • Roar Guru

      July 21st 2017 @ 4:22pm
      Mango Jack said | July 21st 2017 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

      Uran seems to have no one helping him, and AG2R seem to drop away earlier than Sky. The persistent image seems to be of an ordered train of disciplined Sky riders delivering Froome to the final climb in great condition. What hope do Bardet and Uran have?

      Matthews is a character. I enjoy his interviews. It’s refreshing to hear a sports person not speaking cliches from a script. What a Tour his SunWeb team are having!

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