For the results of today's stage, the sprinters played no role at all due to the profile containing of 6 climbs, 5 of them in the last 77 kilometres. For BORA - ARGON 18 the change of terrain does not change the tactics. Again the goal was to get a least one rider into the group of the day.
After a very fast start with many attacks and a race average of 44,4 km/h in the first hour, Bartosz Huzarski managed to breakaway together with 8 other riders after the first KOM of the day. At this stage of the race, Sam Bennett struggled to follow the high pace of the peloton. But when the group went clear, the peloton sattled and Sam was able to come back. In the end of the day he finished safe in one of the later groups together with Shane Archbold. Again a hard effort, but it did pay off.
Shortly before the heavy part of the course, the leading group split into two, the front group with 3 riders and the second group with 6 riders including Bartosz. 66 kilometres before the finish line the 3 leaders could pull out a maximum lead of 15 minutes over the peloton. The chasing group had a gap of about 2 minutes to the leaders.
Bartosz presented the colours of BORA – ARGON 18 the whole day very well and showed a very strong performance. When the leaders split up on the the penultimate climb, also Bartosz dropped some of his companions and chased the last podium spot together with R. Majka. Even though he gave it everything, he still was caught just 20 meters before the finish by the group of favourites. In the end he crossed the line in 6th place which is a great result for him and the team after a very hard day in France.
The young German climber Emanuel Buchmann has fought very well on the first day in the mountains and lost only 3 minutes of the group with Froome, Valverde and Quintana. After he lost contact on the third last climb, he almost came back on the downhill before he went at his on pace over the last two climbs of the day.
The winner of today´s stage was Greg van Avermaet (BMC) ahead of Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff). Van Avermaet is also the new leader in the GC.
“Today I didn´t have the best legs, so I lost contact to the group of favourites on the third last climb. I felt good, but I missed the last speed to follow the big names. But I haven´t lost a lot of time, so its ok and I look already forward to the high mountains.” – Emanuel Buchmann
“Today the big battle for positions failed to appear because the sprinters were thankfully a little bit tired. At the beginning I felt the last 2 very long days, but in the finals my legs came better. I found a perfect group and so I hadn´t go to the limit on the last two climbs. Now I will look day by day and then we will see what is possible.” - Patrick Konrad