Michal Kwiatkowski of the Ineos Grenadiers team, won the 18th stage of the Tour de France at La Roche-sur-Foron after breaking up with his teammate Richard Carapaz, while the leader of General Primoz Roglic maintained his grip on the yellow jersey , after the last of four consecutive mountain stages.
The Polish rider’s success, 24 hours after defending champion Egan Bernal left the race, has been a balm for his team manager, Dave Brailsford, who has come under heavy criticism for his team selection for the race. this year.
Behind the Ineos duo, Mikel Landa, of Bahrain-Mérida, ridiculed by some for not capitalizing on the hard work of his team during Wednesday’s summit arrival at Col de la Loze, edged out the group of leaders in the foot of the final. climb, the Montée du Plateau des Glières, but once again could not really outrun race leader Roglic, from Jumbo-Visma, and the rest of the leading contenders.
But Landa’s attack did enough to break resistance from some of his rivals for a top five in Paris. Adam Yates, of Mitchelton-Scott, Rigoberto Uran for Education First and Alejandro Valverde, of Movistar, were also dropped on the climb to Les Glieres, as Landa looked to climb the overall standings.
Instead of 30 kilometers from the finish, it was Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates, second overall, who tightened the group of favorites before Roglic himself accelerated on the gravel road to the Col des Glieres, removing Richie Porte from Trek Segafredo, after the Australian. suffered a puncture in the front wheel. Previously, Marc Hirschi, winner of stage 12 at Sarran, had been part of the breakaway led by Ineos Grenadier but the Team Sunweb rider crashed at full speed on the descent of the Col des Saisies and lost contact with the leading group, which was then reduced to a trio of Carapaz, Kwiatkowski and Pello Bilbao, teammate of Landa.
On the short but steep six-kilometer climb to the gravel road across the Glières plateau, the Ineos pair proved too strong for Bilbao, who were abandoned with 35 kilometers to run. The vigilantes drove ahead and descended into La Roche-sur-Foron, but such was their advantage over their pursuers, that they were able to cross the finish line arm in arm, the nod for the victory of ‘stage given to Kwiatkowski, who claimed his first success on the Grand Tour.