Peter Sagan claimed his eleventh stage win at the Tour de France, the third one since the start in Vendée, as he outsprinted Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Démare in Valence. It was a transition stage for race leader Geraint Thomas between the Alps and the uphill finish in Mende.
152 riders started stage 13 in Bourg d’Oisans. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) was a non-starter due to a broken vertebrae in a crash 4km before the finish at Alpe d’Huez. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Tom Scully (Education First) rode away from the peloton at km 2. Michael Schär (BMC) and Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis) rejoined them at km 29 whereas all other counter attackers were brought back by the pack. Their maximum advantage was 3’30’’ before the côte de Brié at km 30. De Gendt took 2 KOM points. Bora-Hansgrohe, Groupama-FDJ and UAE Team Emirates combined forces at the head of the peloton to maintain a steady gap around two minutes. Lukas Pöstlberger, Tobias Ludvigsson and Darwin Atapuma were their respective rider designated for pulling.
Schär the last man to surrender
The advantage of the leading quartet was reduced to 55’’ with 55km to go, 5km after Scully crested the category 4 côte de Sainte-Eulalie-en-Royans. The peloton calculated their efforts in order to not bring the breakaway back too early. It was 30’’ with 30km to go. De Gendt who won his tenth intermediate sprint of the Tour de France at Saint-Quentin-sur-Isère (km 71) was first to sit up. Schär forged on by himself with 23km remaining. The Swiss rider was awarded the price of most combative rider of the day. He surrendered 6km before the line.
Sagan takes third stage win
Successively, teams LottoNL-Jumbo, Trek-Segafredo and Bora-Hansgrohe seized the reins of the peloton in the streets of Valence. Groupama-FDJ moved to the front with 1km to go. In the absence of Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step) tried his luck by himself. Groupama-FDJ brought him back to give Arnaud Démare a good lead out but the Frenchman was overtaken by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates). The Slovakian scored his third stage win at the Tour this year, equalling his all-time record. It’s his 42nd stage podium, just as many as Gustave Garrigou, Francis Pélissier and Sean Kelly.