Friday, 19 July 2013
#TDF13: Riblon wins on L'Alpe, Froome bonks + hugely tough stage ahead
To the delight of France Christophe Riblon won the Queen stage on the top of L'Alpe d'Huez, which was climbed twice. Riblon was part of a stage long break which at one time had nearly nine minutes on the peloton. It was an incident packed stage for Riblon who ran off the road on the way down the narrow Col de Sarenne. On both ascents of the Alpe he was dropped by Tejay Van Garderen and then clawing his way back. Van Garderen had a problem with his chain on the descent of Sarenne and had a long chase to catch up with Riblon and Moreno Moser. It may be that Van Garderen paid for this effort when he blew up towards the top of the Alpe and was unable to respond when Riblon sailed past him.
Alberto Contador tried an attack on Chris Froome on the tricky Sarenne descent but was caught before the start of the second ascent of the Alpe. Froome, himself, ran into bonk problems within the last five kilometres of the climb and lost time (1.03) to Nairo Quintana and Joaquin Rodriguez. Froome got Richie Porte to go back to the team car to get food and drink – banned within the last six kilometres of the stage. Chris was very lucky to have Porte on hand to help him to the finish. He and Porte were docked 20 seconds each for this breach of the rules. Froome does, however, have a time cushion of 5.11 over Alberto Contador his closest rival. Quintana moved up to third overall booking a place on the podium and with a comfortable lead in the White jersey competition. Joaquin Rodriguez is threatening while the Belkin pair Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam have fallen back.
Overall standings after Stage 18
1. Chris Froome 71.02.19
2. Alberto Contador + 5.11
3. Nairo Quintana 5.32
4. Roman Kreuziger 5.44
5. Joaquin Rodriguez 5.58
6. Bauke Mollema 8.58
7. Jakob Fuglsang 9.33
8. Michael Rogers 14.26
9. Michal Kwiatowski 14.38
10. Laurens Ten Dam 14.39
Today's stage to Le Grand Bornand is another very tough stage with two HC climbs within the first 85 kilometres of the stage. Then there are still three climbs – a 2nd Cat and two 1st Cat. The top of the last climb the Col de la Croix Fry is just 14K from the finish. Anyone losing time on the final climb is unlikely to be able to make up much time of the descent.
It will be very interesting to see if Froome's problem on the Alpe was just down to lack of food and drink or whether he is weakening. Also will Contador manage to hold onto his podium place.