Riblon Takes First Stage by Frenchman in 2013 Tour de France

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07/19/2013| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill

Riblon Takes First Stage by Frenchman in 2013 Tour de France

Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale) has given France its first stage win of this year’s Tour de France, and he has taken his second career Tour stage win. The Ag2r-La Mondiale man surged past Tejay van Garderen (BMC) in the last two km to win Stage 18, a mountainous, 168.5-km ride from Gap to Alpe d’Huez, in 4:51:32. Van Garderen finished second at 0:59, and Moreno Moser (Cannondale) took third at 1:27. Chris Froome (Sky) remains the maillot jaune.

Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale) has given France its first stage win of this year’s Tour de France, and he has taken his second career Tour stage win. The Ag2r-La Mondiale man surged past Tejay van Garderen (BMC) in the last two km to win Stage 18, a mountainous, 168.5-km ride from Gap to Alpe d’Huez, in 4:51:32. Van Garderen finished second at 0:59, and Moreno Moser (Cannondale) took third at 1:27. Chris Froome (Sky) remains the maillot jaune .

From the start, the racing was aggressive. After a series of abortive sallies in the first half hour, nine riders got clear. They were Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Leopard), Arnold Jeannesson (Francaise des Jeux), Riblon, Amadey Amador (Movistar), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Lars Boom (Belkin), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), van Garderen, and Moser. At 35 km, the escapees led by 3:00, and five km later, they led by 5:40. Behind, Nicolas Roche and Sergio Paulinho (both from Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) attacked the peloton to position themselves to assist Alberto Contador or Roman Kreuziger later in the stage. The pair trailed the break by 5:25 on the Category 3 Rampe de Motty (45 km) and led the peloton by 0:15. At the foot of the Category 2 Col d’Ornon, the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff men trailed the fugitives by the same margin, while the bunch trailed them by 8:20.

At the base of the first ascent of the Alpe, with Roche and Paulinho at 6:15 and the peloton at 7:15, van Garderen attacked. Behind, Pierre Rolland and Thomas Voeckler (both from Europcar) attacked from the peloton. Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) joined the Frenchmen, while Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) launched an attack. The Sky-led peloton shut down the American, but Andy Schleck (Radio-Shack-Leopard) bridged up to Rolland and Voeckler. One km from the summit, Moser and Riblon caught van Garderen. At the summit, the trio led Schleck, Nieve, Poels and Rolland by 7:20 and the peloton by 8:18.

On the descent of the Category 2 Col de Sarenne, van Garderen’s chain came off, and his companions pressed on. Contador and Kreuziger attacked the yellow jersey, but a chase by Movistar caused the pair to give up and rejoin the yellow jersey group. Further down, Riblon slid out on a turn and crashed. He remounted quickly and rejoined Moser. Van Garderen caught them with 17 km left.

At the base of the Alpe, the trio led Voigt by 0:45. Riblon attacked, and Moser fell back. With 12 km left, van Garderen attacked and dropped the Frenchman. Behind, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida) jumped clear of the peloton.

Richie Porte (Sky) did the pacesetting, but Froome had difficulty keeping Porte’s wheel. Bauke Mollema (Belkin), who began the day in third place overall, was dropped, and teammate Laurens Ten Dam paced him up the climb. With 11 km left, Froome found the strength to join Serpa, Valverde, and Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Most of the heads of state joined this group.

Froome attacked again, and Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez (both from Movistar) joined him. Quintana then attacked, and the

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