Race report

An Aggressive Final Day In The Mountains For Team DSM

Tour de France

The final mountain stage of the Tour de France on stage 18 presented one last real opportunity to test the climbing legs and go on the offensive for a stage win for Team DSM. Once more the team raced on the front foot by atop the final climb of the Hautacam it was a battle for the GC which also decided the stage as the yellow jersey Jona Vingegaard cemented his overall race lead with the stage win.

Behind, after a hard fight on the climb, Romain Bardet crossed in 17th place, sliding back two places overall to eight with three stages remaining.

The day got of to yet another attacking start which never really relented all day. First up, Andreas Leknessund managed to get clear in a strong move of six ahead of the first climb of the Col d’Aubisque. However, behind the pace was kept high and they were eventually caught before a larger group formed of over 25 riders containing Alberto Dainese, a group that soon swelled as Leknessund bridged across with a handful of others.

Following attacks out of the select GC group behind, Chris Hamilton went clear marking a move but he was eventually caught by the yellow jersey group containing Bardet which splintered already on the penultimate climb as the GC battle unfolded. Bardet rode on setting his own pace on the climb before joining Hamilton, much as he did with Leknessund yesterday, to set up the final climb. From here it was damage limitation to the line as each rider battled for himself.

Looking back on a tough day in the saddle, Romain Bardet said after the stage: “I was feeling good at the start of the stage, but in the heat I was completely done. I recovered and cooled down on the descent before the Hautacam and felt better on the last climb but I was just completely cooked. The team spirit over the past three weeks has been great and the guys did a really good job once again today but in the end I didn’t have the legs. That’s cycling.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “Overall it was a good day today. Andreas did a good job early on to get in the break of six but it was ridden down. He kept on hunting though and got himself into a really good little group and was up front. Chris showed good legs to mark the moves behind and set up what would have been a good bridge for Romain but in the end Romain couldn’t follow when the move went so he set his own tempo. Chris and Romain then worked together to the bottom of the last climb where Romain paced it to the finish. All in all a good day. Andreas did a good job in the breakaway but ultimately ran out of legs after the efforts of the last couple of weeks.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VINGEGAARD Jonas Jumbo-Visma 3:59:50 120
2 POGAČAR Tadej UAE Team Emirates 1:04 50
3 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma 2:10 25
17 BARDET Romain Team DSM 6:40 -
33 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 16:37 -
47 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 23:58 -
57 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 30:14 -
98 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 33:49 -
101 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 33:56 -
119 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 35:15 -