Tour de France: What the stars said after two beyond category climbs in the Pyrénées on stage 18


VeloNews 15 July, 2021 - 03:13pm 11 views

Who won stage 17?

Tadej Pogacar wins stage 17! Tadej Pogacar tugs on the yellow jersey as he crosses the line first! Jonas Vingegaard comes through to finish in second place, with Carapaz third! The GuardianTour de France 2021: Pogacar wins stage 17 atop the Col du Portet – as it happened

All the action on the final mountain stage of the race

Cavendish and his teammates enter the home straight. They've still got seven minutes left until the time cut so they've made it pretty comfortably. It's all smiles in that five-man QuickStep group. They're going to Paris.

Top 14 now all represent different teams at the Tour. That's never happened before. Previous record is the top 11 in 1970.July 15, 2021

Uran has finished, 8:58 down. That means he does in fact cling onto the top 10. 

Report, results, photos at the link below

"It's unbelievable. After yesterday, today, phwoah, I don't know, I felt good and I'm really happy with the win. It's crazy. It was a game for me since I started and I'm enjoying playing it. I'm super happy. 

"It was super hard. Already on the Tourmalet it was a pace where you just sit on the wheel and forget about everything, and and just focus. The last climb, it was the maximum.

"You never know. It's still three days to go but it looks good."

Pogacar wins his third stage of the 2021 Tour. He won three stages last year and in fact won three stages at his Grand Tour debut at the 2020 Vuelta. He has done three Grand Tours and won nine stages. And this one's not over - he won the first time trial and could make it four wins on Saturday. Oh, and the win means he wins the mountains classification and the polka-dot jersey as well. Oh, and he's going to win his second Tour de France on Sunday, barring absolute disaster.

Bilbao and Guillaume Martin finish at 44 seconds.

Higuita, Kelderman, O'Connor finish at 32 seconds.

Dan Martin and Kuss next across.

Mas takes fourth place at 12 seconds.

He sits up and celebrates. Vingegaard pips Carapaz for second.

Pogacar rounds the final couple of bends, he's moving clear and he's going to win again. 

Vingegaard sits behind Carapaz but Pogacar finds a new gear

A gap but not a big one! Still 300 to go!

Carapaz doesn't close it! Pogacar attacks!

Carapaz weaves over and now Mas attacks!

Carapaz moves to the front. 800 to go

Pogacar, Carapaz, Mas, Vingegaard. They look around at each other.

Kuss falls away. Pogacar closes the gap.

Kuss is out of the saddle and he takes it to the 1km to go banner.

Mas drifts off the back again.

Dan Martin attacks from the chase group.

How far will Kuss take this? Can Vingegaard get Pogacar in a mountain-top sprint?

Mas just loses the wheel but isn't gone yet.

Kuss takes it into the final 2km.

O'Connor leads the chase at 20 seconds. Kelderman, G.Martin are there. 

Kuss continues his effort into the final 2500 metres. 

Vingegaard is sitting behind Carapaz today...

Enric Mas on a much better day after his struggles yesterday.

And now Kuss comes to the front. It's him, Pogacar, Carapaz, Vingegaard and Mas. Big gap to the rest.

Pogacar takes it up with 3.1km to go. 

Castroviejo trakcs it with Carapaz in the wheel. Vingegaard and Mas are there. And Kuss.

Majka has settled down after that initial surge. Still 15 in the front group. 

Where does Carapaz go from here? He's four seconds down on Vingegaard but needs more with the time trial in mind.

Pogacar sits second wheel as he wrestles back control. Second stage win in two days?

Lutsenko loses contact again. Van Aert is dropped and seems done.

The Pole derails the Ineos mountain train and Geoghegan Hart is quickly dropped.

Geoghegan Hart continues his effort up the sinuous tree-lined hairpins. 

Uran is cooked. He's already 7 minutes down.

Geoghegan Hart, Castroviejo, Carapaz, Majka, Pogacar, Van Aert, Vingegaard, Kuss, O'Connor, Kelderman, Buchmann, Lutsenko, G.Martin, D.Martin, Valverde, Mas, Bilbao, Higuita, Poels

Lutsenko loses contact but gets back on.

Geoghegan Hart isn't doing too much damage here. Still 20 riders in touch. 

Poels is coming back to the group, which maybe indicates the pace isn't super high. 

Expect the unexpected, said Dave Brailsford. The old mountain train is back in force today. 

Gaudu is still in this group. He'll want to hang on because he could just move into the top 10 today.

Van Aert and Kuss are still there either side of Vingegaard.

8.5km to go and Majka pulls out to have a word with Pogacar.

The yellow jersey group has significantly reduced now. 

It looks like Pogacar is down to just one teammate - Majka. 

Geoghegan Hart has struggled through his debut Tour and was dropped before things got serious yesterday, but he looks better here.

Kwiatkowski pulls aside. Over to Geoghegan Hart.

A big push from Kwiatkowski to close the gap to the Frenchman, whose bold ride comes to an end. He'll hang in but has surely expended too much to now think about winning this stage.

Gaudu on the verge of being caught.

Poels is dropped now. It's out of his hands.

Gaudu is 13 seconds up the road.

Kwiatkowski, Geoghegan Hart, Castroviejo, Carapaz. That's the Ineos order. They know they're not going to upend the Tour here but are after the stage win and potentially Vingegaard's second place.

Woods is dropped, so he won't be winning the polka-dots at this Tour.

But Van Baarle now pulls aside and Kwiatkowski immediately raises the pace.

Van Baarle still on the front. Still 40 riders in this bunch so the damage hasn't been huge and we've only 10km to go on the final meaningful GC road stage of this Tour.

Gaudu is still 17 seconds out front.

Van Baarle gets out of the saddle and produces what will surely be his final effort. Kwiatkowski lies in wait.

Vingegaard has Van Aert and Kuss with him.

Pogacar still has three teammates with him.

Van Baarle leads the yellow jersey group onto the climb at 20 seconds. Uran is still at 90 seconds with two teammates.

Gaudu hits the final climb to Luz Ardiden! It's 13.3km at 7.4%.

Gaudu slipping. He's only 20 seconds ahead now.

Ineos have taken it back up. Van Baarle on the front and having his best day of this Tour.

The road starts to rise ahead of the final climb.

Gaudu has lost 15 seconds in the last few kilometres

Cavendish is in the gruppetto at 15 minutes. It's a short stage and a short time cut but they should be ok.

Gaudu has to do a few kilometres in the valley and that's going to count against him. 5km from the foot of the final climb but the road does tilt up before the start.

Gaudu has 45 seconds as he heads through the 20-to-go banner. But here the road begins to flatten out.

Fraile, Poels, Latour, and Guerreiro are caught by the yellow jersey bunch. Gaudu still out front and still descending.

There are still plenty of points on offer at our summit finish - the same quota, given it's another hors-cat climb. If Pogacar wins the stage he also wins the polka-dots (provided Poels isn't  in the top four).

As promised, here are the full Colbrelli quotes

Uran lost 90 seconds by the summit. He might recover some of that on this descent but it doesn't bode well for our big final climb. 

They catch Latour to form a chasing group of four, but Gaudu continues to gain. 40 seconds now. 

Latour is already 30 seconds behind Gaudu. Maybe he misjudged a corner. He has Poels, Guerreiro, and Fraile closing in on him.

UAE take back over from Ineos at the top of the Tourmalet and begin the descent at one minute from Gaudu.

Gaudu has dropped Latour on the early part of this descent.

Poels passes Fraile in sight of the line but can't quite get past Guerreiro.

Poels attacks Woods and leaves him.

Latour moves to the front to get there first, winning the Souvenir Jacques Goddet and £5000.

The crowds and the mist both thicken at the top. Latour is a vision of effort and suffering, Gaudu still a picture of poise. Who will be first to the top?

Woods and Poels are 37 seconds behind what is now a leading duo of Gaudu and Latour, who are into the final kilometre of the climb.

Points on offer for the first eight riders over the top of the hors-categorie Col du Tourmalet. 

Uran has Neilson Powless and Magnus Cort for support. Sergio Higuita is continuing in the bunch. 

Poels, Woods, and Quintana are already moving up towards the front of the bunch. Big battle for the KOM points to come. But we're still 2km from the top.

If Uran can't hold Van Baarle's pace now, he's not going to be able to ride with his rivals on the final climb.

Huge development on the Tourmalet. The Colombian slipped two places from second to fourth yesterday and he's already in trouble here. 

Fraile is looking to drag his way back to the front, passing Alaphilippe.

Out onto the open verdant upper reaches of the Tourmalet. 3km from the summit and the group of Gaudu, Latour, Guerreiro have 35 seconds over the reducing bunch.

Alaphilippe dropped from the front group.

Geraint Thomas has been dropped. He can't contribute today either. It looks like Geoghegan Hart is on a better day today.

Latour has clawed his way back to the front of the race.

We're passing through La Mongie ski resort and the Ineos-led bunch is still 40 seconds behind the Gaudu group.

Gaudu is a picture of poise as he takes charger, but now Alaphilippe comes through. Along with Guerreiro, they're away in a trio, with Latour the closest chaser.

Alaphilippe drags his way back up as Fraile is dropped. Mohoric is falling away.

Just over 5km from the summit, Madouas produces his last acceleration and sets Gaudu free. Fraile and Guerreiro can follow.

Van Baarle still on the front for Ineos, who have lost Porte but still have all their other riders - Thomas, Geoghegan Hart, Kwiatkowski, Castroviejo, and of course Carapaz. 

6km from the top of the Tourmalet, Alaphilippe and Mohoric are joined by Gaudu, Madouas, Fraile, Izaguirre, Guerreiro, Latour, Elissonde.

That chase group is now just 10 seconds down on our two leaders and 30 seconds up on the bunch.

Madouas continues his effort, as Gaudu douses him with water acquired from a sticky bottle from the Vittel moto. Fraile, Izaguirre, Latour, Elissonde, Guerreiro are there. 

The chase group move a little further clear of the Ineos-led bunch now.

Ineos have six riders on the front. UAE have four riders around Pogacar.

Ineos are about to cancel out this chase group with Gaudu et al.

Formolo dropped! Ineos' work quickly dropped Stake Laengen but it has now got rid of one of Pogacar's key mountain domestiques.

Richie Porte is dropped. It doesn't look like he'll be contributing to whatever Ineos have in mind today.

Dylan van Baarle is doing the early work for Ineos. They've reduced the gap to the two leaders to 57 seconds. We're 8.5km from the top.

Elissonde attacked from that chase group but he's back now. Madouas is setting pace for Gaudu. Fraile has made it up there too.

Lopez and Quintana weren't able to follow Gaudu after all and they're swept up by the bunch.

Gaudu, together with Ion Izaguirre and Ruben Guerreiro, makes it over to the chase group.

Ineos take it up in the bunch!

Gaudu is there. This is the time for the strong climbers who aren't real GC threats to make their move for the stage win.

More attacks from the bunch now. Miguel Angel Lopez goes and others join in.

So we have our front duo of Alaphilippe and Mohoric, a four-man French chase group of Latour, Elissonde, Rolland, and Madouas, then the UAE led peloton, then the growing gruppetto.

UAE are setting a steady tempo through Stake Laengen, allowing Alaphilippe and Mohoric to move out to 1:40. 

Valentin Madouas has bridged across to the Latour chase group.

This is the 88th appearance of the Tourmalet in the Tour de France. It has been a special climb for the race over all these years. Today we climb from the eastern approach, before descending down the side that was climbed two years ago when Thibaut Pinot claimed that famous win. 

Rolland is joined by Latour and Elissonde. Juul-Jensen was dropped ahead of the start of the climb.

Latour had such a good start to his career and even won the white jersey at the 2018, where he impressed in service of Romain Bardet. He had a difficult couple of years with injury and illness and is now finding his feet after his move to Total Energies. He seems to be rediscovering his old strength but is deploying it with an absolute scattergun. 

The Frenchman has put in some bizarre moves at this Tour and he goes clear with Elissonde here.

Pierre Latour attacks just as the bunch hits it.

Alaphilippe and Mohoric begin the Col du Tourmalet. It's 17.1km at 7.3%.

Alaphilippe and Mohoric are alone at the head of the race as we approach the Tourmalet. Perichon dropped and Bennett has also gone back to the bunch. Rolland and Juul-Jensen are going nowhere as UAE take control of the peloton.

We're on the false flat ahead of the Tourmalet but we'll be onto the famous climb soon.

Juul-Jensen and Rolland are 40 seconds behind the four leaders and 30 seconds ahead of the bunch. 

Nice novelty on the #TDF2021 in stage 18:The tactical disasterclass challenge. Hard to say who did best though.July 15, 2021

Slightly bizarre from the Dane and BikeExchange. They had already failed to drop Cavendish when he sat up from the break.

Juul-Jensen is back on the attack and trying to get back to the break that he was previously part of, before stopping. He's attacking with Rolland.

The Trek riders knock it off. Martin seems up for carrying it on, but it looks like the peloton will reform behind the four leaders.

Three from Trek in here - Stuyven, Theuns, Elissonde. Dan Martin and Davide Ballerini are there too. 

Trek-Segafredo are trying to trigger a breakaway in the immediate aftermath of that sprint.

Morkov was second there, ahead of Matthews, with the Australian's lead-out man Mezgec fourth and Colbrelli fifth. Those are placings from the bunch, so minus five when you factor in the break. 

Morkov leads out Cavendish and he gets there ahead of Matthews. A bit of a statement there from the green jersey. 

Now for the peloton. Cavendish is up there, having weathered the BikeExchange onslaught on that previous climb. 

The leading five riders come to the intermediate sprint and Alaphilippe, who took the sole point at the top of that climb, takes maximum here, but there's no contest.

Juul-Jensen is now leading the bunch as we approach the intermediate sprint.

If you've been following The Amazing Chase, you'll know the ultra-cyclist Jack Thompson is racing the peloton to Paris, having set off 10 days late. Here's the latest on his progress.

It doesn't look like anyone has been dropped here. 

The peloton is strung out but no major splits at the moment. 

Juul-Jensen has stopped at the top of the climb. But he sees Astana on the front, not his own teammates.

Colbrelli is up there behind Matthews. No Cavendish but QuickStep have placed two pawns there as the peloton splits.

Juul-Jensen drops from the break. He'd been skipping turns before. The Australian team have that intermediate sprint in mind and they want to drop Cavendish.

Durbridge has Matthews in the wheel and they're putting real pressure on here.

The peloton hit the climb now and BikeExchange light it up

The leaders hit the climb and their advantage is down to 1:30.

The gap stands at 1:40 so it appears these breakaway riders have no chance of staying out for the stage win today. We could still get a non-GC rider going clear on the Tourmalet but it looks like the stage winner will be one of the overall contenders.

We've got the small climb of the Côte de Loucrup coming up in a few kilometres. After that we have 8km to the intermediate sprint, then the road starts to ramp up towards the Tourmalet.

🤜🤛 Well done mate!🤜🤛 Bien joué !🇫🇷 @PerichonPLuc and @alafpolak1 have joined the head of the race.🇫🇷 Pierre-Luc Périchon et Julian Alaphilippe ont rejoint la tête de la course.#TDF2021 15, 2021

Bilbao is back in the bunch. Haller is setting pace. They're 1:45 behind the five leaders.

The scenes on the Tourmalet at the moment

C'est la folie au sommet du Tourmalet pour @CaravaneduTour 🤪🥰 #TDF2021 #cofidismyteam 15, 2021

Pello Bilbao, 10th overall, is off the back after a mechanical, so Bahrain are currently chasing down one of their riders and dropping one of their riders. Must have been a rough night. 

Bahrain have a rider in the break in Mohoric so it's odd to see them chasing. But they have Poels in the polka-dots so perhaps they're thinking about keeping the gap minimal to set him up for the points on the Tourmalet.

Bahrain Victorious, who have dominated today's headlines, are currently riding hard on the front of the bunch. 

Alaphilippe gives Perichon a pat on the back and the pair then exchange a fist bump. A job well done.

Contact made. We now have five riders 90 seconds ahead of the bunch: Mohoric, Bennett, Juul-Jensen, Alaphilippe, Perichon.

We're already into the final 100km and Alaphilippe and Perichon can now see the leaders just 14 seconds up the road. The peloton is a further minute back.

The front three haven't decided to wait for Alaphilippe and Perichon but the duo are closing in now.

Things haven't settled down yet. Pierre Rolland attacks the bunch and it strings out again.

Alaphilippe and Perichon are 30 seconds behind the front three and 20 seconds in front of the peloton.

Full Colbrelli reaction on the way shortly.

We also grabbed a word from Bahrain Victorious' Sonny Colbrelli just before. Here's what he had to say. 

"It is pure jealousy. I didn’t sleep at all because I was so irritated. We don’t deserve this. In our world, if you ride strongly, they say you're up to something, if you ride slowly, you're a nobody."

Splits in the bunch now as more groups set off.

Alaphilippe sits up but he gets a pat on the back from Pierre-Luc Perichon, who has launched an attack of his own. Alaphilippe goes with his compatriot.

Wout van Aert is in a nine-man group just off the front of the bunch, but the gap is minimal and it'll be back together on this short downhill.

Alaphilippe follows alone at 30 seconds.

Juul-Jensen leads the front three over the top of that short early climb. 

As promised, here are the full Mohoric quotes

The bunch is 10 seconds behind the world champion and it's fragmenting now as they hit the climb.

The three leaders hit the early cat-4 climb of the Côte de Notre-Dame de Piétat with a lead of half a minute over Alaphilippe.

The Poels move is brought back as Geoghegan Hart appears at the head of the bunch. Barthe is reeled in too.

Bahrain's polka-dot jersey wearer Poels now heads into a counter attack.

Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels) sets off in pursuit.

Mohoric is away with Chris Juul-Jensen (BikeExchange) and Sean Bennett (Qhubeka Assos)

He said they'll be determined to perform and even said they'd be "flying" today. I kid you not. His quotes in full just around the corner. 

Mohoric straight on the attack for Bahrain...

A crazy morning and now the final mountain stage gets underway

The riders are on the move and we're about to get underway.

Race leader Tadej Pogacar and his UAE teammates have signed on and that's it for the pre-race podium ceremony. It's now over to the start line ahead of the roll-out.

More from Mohoric in a second. For now, here's our story on the news that the authorities have opened a doping investigation. 

We've just spoken to Bahrain Victorious rider Matej Mohoric.

"I have nothing to hide. We have nothing to hide."

EF-Nippo are currently on the stage, being presented to the crowds. Ineos are next and Bahrain will be up soon.

We've just had a statement in from the Marseille public prosecution office, who have confirmed they have opened an investigation into the Bahrain Victorious team alongside the OCLAESP, a body that deals with public health matters. 

The statement refers to possible possession of a 'banned substance or method intended for use by an athlete without medical justification'. It underlines that suspicions are being investigated and that, at this point, those involved are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Bahrain Victorious at the start of stage 18 after a long night with the police visit. 15, 2021

Yesterday's stage saw Richard Carapaz wheel out a hugely entertaining bluff, and that's the subject of Philippa York's latest piece for us. 

I quite enjoy seeing brazen tactics like that, but Philippa wasn't so impressed, and, to extend her footballing metaphor, she goes in studs up on the Ineos rider.

Before we get going, now's the time to catch up on yesterday's action. 

Unusual for something like this to happen in Pau. 15, 2021

The sign-on ceremony is underway in our start city of Pau (which has a history of Tour de France doping busts). Bahrain Victorious are due to be the third-to-last team to sign on, at 13:18 local time. 

We asked them if they are continuing in the race. They said: "Of course , why not, we will defend our positions."

The roll-out is coming up at 13:35 local time but there's nowhere else to start than with news of a raid on the Bahrain Victorious team hotel. 

We broke the story this morning, and the team have since issued a statement. We understand up to 50 police officers were present to search the team bus and riders' rooms. Click here for the full story

Hello there and welcome along to our live coverage of the Tour de France. Stage 18 today, and it's the last mountain stage of the race, although there will be one more major GC appointment to follow this in the form of the penultimate-day time trial. After yesterday's summit finish on the Col de Portet, today we're heading up to Luz Ardiden, and not before going up and down the mighty Col du Tourmalet.

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Read full article at VeloNews

Cycling-Pogacar closes in on Tour title, doping suspicions hit race

Yahoo Sports 15 July, 2021 - 11:01pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

LUZ ARDIDEN, France (Reuters) -Tadej Pogacar claimed another landmark victory in the 18th stage to edge closer to retaining his Tour de France title as a cloud of doping suspicions hung over the world's greatest cycling race on Thursday.

Before the start of the stage, the French prosecutor's office said it had opened a preliminary investigation into the Bahrain Victorious team after police searched the outfit's accommodation and bus on Wednesday.

The prosecutor's office in Marseille said the investigation was into "acquisition, transport, possession, import of a prohibited substance or prohibited method for use by an athlete without medical justification."

Bahrain Victorious said they were complying with the investigation.

All Bahrain Victorious riders started the stage but none of them weighed on the race, having been kept up by the searches deep into the night, with Dutchman Wout Poels falling behind Pogacar in the mountains classification.

The Slovenian's brutal acceleration 500 metres from the line, at top of Luz Ardiden (13.3km at 7.4%), could not be matched by his rivals as Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard and Ecuador's Richard Carapaz finished two seconds behind in second and third, respectively.

The result was a carbon copy of Wednesday's summit finish at the Col du Portet, where Pogacar had already beaten Vingegaard and Carapaz in the second of his three stage wins in this year's Tour.

"I can't believe what's happening to me. Today was a really big stage. My legs were not at 100% and I suffered in the Tourmalet," said Pogacar.

"The ascent to Luz Ardiden was tough, too, but I found my rhythm and I had enough energy for the final sprint."

Overall, UAE Emirates rider Pogacar now has a massive advantage of five minutes 45 seconds over Jumbo-Visma's Vingegaard with Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers in third place overall, a further six seconds behind.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo), fourth overall at the start, cracked in the penultimate ascent to the Col du Tourmalet to drop out of the top 10.

Australian Ben O'Connor of AG2R-Citroen is now fourth, 8:18 off the pace two days before Saturday's final individual time trial.

Early attackers Matej Mohoric of Bahrain Victorious and world champion Julian Alaphilippe were joined in the ascent of the Tourmalet (17.1km at 7.3%) by a small group featuring French climber David Gaudu.

Gaudu, whose monster work had set up Thibaut Pinot for a landmark win at the Tourmalet in 2019, accelerated and was followed by Alaphilippe, fellow Frenchman Pierre Latour and Portugal's Ruben Guerreiro.

A cooked Alaphilippe was dropped 3.5km from the top with Guerreiro also being left behind two kilometres further up as French president Emmanuel Macron watched from the Tour director's car.

Gaudu broke clear in the descent but he only had a 15-second advantage on an Ineos Grenadiers-led yellow jersey group at the foot of the final climb.

He was caught 9.5km from the line.

Pogacar attacked first, 3.5km from the top, with Vingegaard, Carapaz, Spain' Enric Mas and American Sepp Kuss the only ones to follow.

Kuss flagged before Mas started his sprint 700 metres from the line, only for the 22-year-old Pogacar to speed past him with 500 metres, leaving Vingegaard and Carapaz to fight it out for second after the 129.7km ride from Pau.

In addition to the yellow, Pogacar now holds the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider and the polka-dot jersey for the mountains classification.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by David Evans and Pritha Sarkar)

The Bahrain Victorious team competing at the Tour de France was raided by French police on the eve of Thursday's stage as part of a doping investigation, according to judicial and police officials. The team confirmed in a statement that riders' rooms were searched by officers at the hotel it stayed in in the southwestern city of Pau. In a statement to The Associated Press, the Marseille prosecutor in charge of the case said a preliminary investigation targeting members of the team was opened on July 3 “for acquisition, transport, possession, import of a substance or method prohibited for use by an athlete without medical justification."

The team, enjoying a successful Tour de France, was required to provide copies of all training files.

Pogacar wins third stage at this year's Tour de France Slovenian extends lead and all but seals KoM jersey Vingegaard looks good for second, Carapaz third Cavendish completes stage within time limit Tadej Pogacar celebrated stage victory in yellow for a second day in a row at the Tour de France and can surely soon start toasting a second consecutive title after another dominant display. In a mirror image of Wednesday's finale, Pogacar raced clear of Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz in the fi

Tadej Pogacar won the Tour de France's stage 17, increasing his lead for the yellow jersey in the overall standings.

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The defending champion claimed his second consecutive stage win on summit finishes by racing clear up Luz Ardiden.

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