Monday, 24 September, 2018


Tour de France 2018 - Wiggins: 'Dignified' Froome still favourite after salbutamol case

Peter Sagan gets ready for a training ride ahead of the Tour de France Peter Sagan gets ready for a training ride ahead of the Tour de France
Noah Ferguson | 10 July, 2018, 21:47

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) is in a superb position after his squad's fifth placing, just 11 seconds off the pace of BMC. "We know that Peter (Sagan) is one of the greatest riders of the peloton and I'm happy to compete against him because he makes everything more hard", he explained. "It is impossible to say that I thought I was going to take two victories in four stages or that we were prepared for this", the rider affirmed.

Quick-Step Floors, the second last team to start, were the one remaining serious threat that could deny BMC the stage win, and started like a house on fire - so much so that their ranks split apart, with second placed rider overall Fernando Gaviria among those cut loose.

In a race that could be decided by a matter of seconds, the time loss is a big early setback for Team Sky leader Froome, in the race after being cleared of any wrongdoing following a urine test that showed he had an excessive level of a banned asthma medication in last year's Tour of Spain.

Van Avermaet earned the yellow jersey by leading BMC over the line, just ahead of American teammate Tejay van Garderen, who moved up to second overall, with the same time as Van Avermaet.

Sagan has won the sprinters jersey five times and is a strong favourite to claim a sixth in Paris.

"We rode a decent time trial and even if we still lost a lot of time I'm relieved", said Bardet.

Gaviria's compatriot Rigoberto Uran nearly lost time after being caught in a late crash around 5km from the finish, but he was paced back to the main group by his EF Education First-Drapac team to stay 10th, 35 seconds behind Van Avermaet.

Times were taken from the fourth rider on each eight-man team to cross the line.

Jakob Fuglsang and Astana actually did a very good job considering they started without one of the best riders against the clock in Luis Leon Sanchez after the Spanish veteran crashed out yesterday. With another gruelling trip across the Alps and Pyrenees, who will wear the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees?

The Tour's top guns enjoyed a quiet day in the saddle, with the exception of Russian Ilnur Zakarin, who was caught at the wrong end of a late pile-up and lost 59 seconds. "It's a long way to go, we still have six more hectic days and then we have also got the Alps and the Pyrenees".

It was all about the team for Thomas, though, even if he missed out on the yellow jersey by three seconds.

The only individual time trial of the race comes in the penultimate stage, over a 31-kilometer route from Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle to Espelette in the Basque country.

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