The days go by and look the same in the Pyrenees. The arrival at the top of Luz-Ardiden during the 18th stage of the Tour de France, Thursday, July 15, gave rise to a new explanation between the favorites and to a new victory for the yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar, his third on this Tour.
Winner for the second time in two days in the Pyrenees, Tadej Pogacar beat the Dane Jonas Vingegaard and the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz, respectively second and third in the general classification. He increased his advantage to 5:45 on the Dane, who precedes the Ecuadorian by 6 seconds.
Thanks to this new victory at the top, which comes on top of that of the day before at the Col du Portet, Tadej Pogacar is now the best climber’s polka-dot jersey, a tunic that combines with the yellow jersey of the leader of the general classification and the white of best young. Last year, he had already won these three rankings.
David Gaudu devant
In this demanding stage with two non-category passes, the French, still looking for a second victory, were at the front of the race. Julian Alaphilippe, Pierre-Luc Périchon, Kenny Elissonde and Pierre Rolland all tried to animate the race.
In the legendary Tourmalet, the pass most often used by the Tour for more than a century, David Gaudu came out of the pack. The Frenchman joined the escaped riders and fell to the top just behind Pierre Latour, whom he left behind on the long sunny descent, unlike the climb in the fog.
For a long time, the Breton believed he could achieve a feat leading the final ascent, Luz-Ardiden, also classified as out of category (13.3 km at 7.4%). But behind the train of the Ineos-Grenadiers team of Richard Carapaz had set in motion, quickly annihilating the hopes of France. The third in the general sought to push back his Colombian competitor Rigoberto Uran as far as possible, in difficulty from the first pass.
Once the French fugitive recovered, Pogacar accelerated sharply as the last 3 kilometers approached. He kept four riders with him (Kuss, Vingegaard, Carapaz, Mas) and countered in the last few hundred meters an attack from the Spaniard Enric Mas. All under the eyes of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, visiting the Tour.
David Gaudu was able to comfort himself with little consolation: the most combative runner’s bib of the day.
Before the start of this 18th stage, a search of the Bahrain Victorious hotel awakened the old demons of cycling. Wout Poels’ team is under investigation for doping.