Quintana, a diminutive climber in a short stage

Tour de France 2018 | Stage 17 | Bagnères-de-Luchon > Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet

Nairo Quintana claimed the 19th Colombian stage victory at the Tour de France and the third this year after two bunch sprints by Fernando Gaviria, making the South American nation the most successful so far. The Movistar climber took the highest summit of the 105th edition in a solo move in the last climb to col du Portet. Geraint Thomas extended his lead in the overall ranking.

146 riders took the start of the 65-km long Pyrenean stage in Bagnères-de-Luchon. One non-starter: Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step). The top 10 riders on GC had a special position on the starting grit but Tanel Kangert (Astana) was the first attacker in the first kilometre. Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) was first to rejoin him but 5km before the first summit at Peyragudes, Kangert was alone in the lead again with an advantage of 25’’ over Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Kristijan Durasek (UAE Team Emirates) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step) who continued his quest for the King of the Mountain title. The Frenchman was second to the Estonian at the top.

18 KOM points for Alaphilippe

Alaphilippe and Durasek rejoined Kangert two kilometres before the intermediate sprint at Loudenvielle (km 27.5) where the Astana rider passed in first position. Three minutes behind the leading trio, Pierre Latour was first to up the tempo for AG2R-La Mondiale 6km before the top summit of Val Louron, the second category 1 KOM of the day. Durasek lost contact with Alaphilippe and Kangert who crested the col de Val Louron in that order. 15km before the finish line at col du Portet, Kangert found himself alone in the lead again. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked from the yellow jersey group. Chris Froome reacted to an attack by Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) but Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) eventually brought the yellow jersey back.

Quintana alone with 6.5km to go

With 10km to go, Kangert had 50’’ lead over Alejandro Valverde, Quintana (Movistar) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and 1’30’’ over the yellow jersey group. Quintana and Majka seized the command of the race with 8.5km to go. 6.5km before the finish, Quintana rode away solo. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) didn’t manage to bridge the gap to the Colombian. Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) lost contact with the yellow jersey group. Froome also couldn’t hold the pace when Roglic sped up again with 1.5km to go but Thomas kept the situation under control and put up the fastest ride of the favourites in the last 300 metres. Tom Dumoulin moved into second place in the overall ranking behind the Welshman from Team Sky.

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