Tour de France 2018: Rest Day 1 Recap

Porte out, Thomas best-placed as Greg Van Avermaet holds maillot jaune

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The 2018 Tour de France kicked off in Noirmoutier-En-L'Ïle a week later in July than usual thanks to the FIFA World Cup crowding the sports broadcasts slots, and if there was a sense of urgency to get the race underway because of the wait, it was even more heightened as the peloton sought to put the polemics surrounding Chris Froome's salbutamol case behind them.

After the ASO threatened to ban Froome from racing the Tour, the UCI made an unexpected decision to drop his case from the 2017 Vuelta a España on the recommendation from WADA less than a week before the Grand Depart. The French public found the verdict difficult to accept, and Sky and Froome were greeted with boos and whistles during the team presentation and early stages.

It is far easier to ignore the cynical fans when travelling at 60kph, and the bunch cranked out 201km on the opening stage at a blazing 45kph, with Fernando Gaviria and his Quick-Step Floors squad lighting the afterburners to rocket to victory. Gaviria became the second Colombian to wear the maillot jaune after Victor Hugo Pena in 2003.

It was a week for the sprinters, with Gaviria, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo) picking up pairs of stages each, except for the BMC-led team time trial, Dan Martin's (UAE Team Emirates) stellar victory on the Mûr de Bretagne, and John Degenkolb's emotional win in Roubaix.

After first Gaviria and then Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet took the maillot jaune in the team time trial and held it through the first rest day.

As is par for the course for the first week of the Tour, there were numerous crashes. Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac) spent half of the first stage chasing after the peloton with a bloody eye and fractured scapula, painfully making it to the finish inside the time cut and fighting to remain in the race over the next days.

Chris Froome tussled with Katusha-Alpecin's lead-out with 5km to go and crashed into a grassy verge all gave up 51 seconds to his rivals. Richie Porte (BMC), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), and Movistar's Nairo Quintana were all caught out by crashes and lost time, with Quintana breaking a wheel on a roundabout just outside the 3km mark and losing 1:15.

The time gains and losses, however, would be nearly all reversed in the coming stages, as one by one, the overall contenders suffered crashes or misfortune in the opening week.

Porte was the first GC rider to abandon in a crash during stage 9, before the race even hit the cobbles.

Thomas remained the best-placed rider of the general classification contenders throughout the first week, having missed all the crashes. Going into the rest day, Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) was next best seven seconds behind Thomas. Alejandro Valverde was Movistar's top man, at 48 seconds from Thomas.

Time (loss)/gains (+=bonuses) on general classification among contenders

GC PlaceRiderGap to ThomasStage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 6Stage 8Stage 9
1Greg Van Avermaet+0:43  +0:04  +1s+0:19 +9s
2Geraint Thomas0:00 +1s  +2s  
4Bob Jungels0:07  (0:03) (0:09) +0:08
5Alejandro Valverde0:48  (0:49) +4s  
6Rafal Majka0:49  (0:46)    
7Jakob Fuglsang0:50  (0:47)    
8Chris Froome0:59(0:51)   (0:05)  
9Adam Yates0:59(0:51) (0:05)    
10Mikel Landa0:59  (0:49)   (0:07)
12Vincenzo Nibali1:05  (1:02)    
13Primoz Roglic1:14  (1:11)    
14Bauke Mollema1:15  (1:12)    
15Tom Dumoulin1:20  (0:07) (0:50) -20s  
17Romain Bardet1:49  (1:11) (0:27) (0:07)
19Ilnur Zakarin1:59  (0:48)(0:59)(0:09)  
21Nairo Quintana2:07(1:15) (0:49)    
22Rigoberto Uran2:10  (0:31) (0:08) (1:28)
24Daniel Martin2:39  (1:34) +0:03 +10s(0:1:16) 
30Tejay van Garderen5:22  +0:04 (0:03) (5:20)
DNFRichie Porte (0:51) +0:04    

Stage 1: Noirmoutier-En-L'Ïle - Fontenay-Le-Comte, 201km

Winner: Fernando Gaviria
Leader: Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) takes the first yellow jersey at the 2018 Tour de France

Fernando Gaviria finished off the fine work of his Quick-Step Floors team to win stage 1, donning the first maillot jaune, and taking the lead in the points and young riders classifications.

Stage 2: Mouilleron-Saint Germain - La Roche-Sur-Yon, 182.5km

Winner: Peter Sagan
Leader: Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins stage 2 at the Tour de France

On stage 2, Peter Sagan traded his rainbow jersey for the maillot jaune in La Roche-sur-Yon after Gaviria went down in a crash at a tight right-hand bend with 2km to go. It was just for one day, however, as he failed to stay with his Bora-Hansgrohe team on the next stage's team time trial.

Stage 3: Cholet (TTT), 35.5km

Winner: BMC Racing Team
Leader: Greg Van Avermaet

BMC Racing celebrate their TTT win

The TTT reversed the advantages of most of the GC men who made the front group on stage 1, with BMC taking the victory to pull back some of Porte's losses and put Greg Van Avermaet into yellow. Team Sky, Mitchelton-Scott and Team Sunweb were all within a dozen seconds of BMC, with EF-Drapac keeping Rigoberto Uran in a strong position, losing just 35 seconds. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) came through as the top GC favourite ahead of a handful of stages for the fast men, with Dumoulin and Uran next in line.

Stage 4: La Baule - Sarzeau, 195km

Winner: Fernando Gaviria
Leader: Greg Van Avermaet

Peter Sagan congratulates Fernando Gaviria as they cross the line during stage 4 at the Tour de France

The GC favourites continued to be hit by crashes late in stage 4, with Uran and Landa having to chase furiously to avoid losing time with 4km to go. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) came out the worst, losing 59 seconds, as Gaviria took out his second victory.

Stage 5: Lorient - Quimper, 204.5km

Winner: Peter Sagan
Leader: Greg Van Avermaet

Peter Sagan wins the sprint to the line in Quimper, stage 5 at the Tour de France

Peter Sagan struck again on stage 5, out-powering Sonny Colbrelli and Philippe Gilbert on the uphill finish in Quimper. Greg Van Avermaet gained two seconds on his teammate van Garderen through a time bonus, and his seventh place on the stage was enough to keep him in yellow.

Stage 6: Brest - Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan, 181km

Winner: Dan Martin
Leader: Greg Van Avermaet

Dan Martin wins stage 6 at the 2018 Tour de France

Stage 6 went to Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), who soloed away on the Mûr de Bretagne, while more GC drama played out behind. Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) touched wheels and had to stop for new equipment. While Bardet got back on, the effort cost him 31 seconds. Dumoulin fared much worse, drafting his team car too long and earning a 20-second penalty before being barraged from the convoy - losing a total of 1:13.

Stage 7: Fougères - Chartres, 231km

Winner: Dylan Groenewegen
Leader: Greg Van Avermaet

Dylan Groenewegen wins stage 7 at the Tour de France

Stages 7 and 8 were the domain of the sprinters, with Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo) finding his groove to claim both stages.

Stage 8: Dreux - Amiens Métropole, 181km

Winner: Dylan Groenewegen
Leader: Greg Van Avermaet

Dylan Groenewegen takes his second consecutive win and third ever Tour de France win

Sagan's lead in the points classification went out over Gaviria when the Colombian clashed with Andre Greipel in the sprint on stage 8 and both were relegated. Dan Martin was the GC loser of the day, suffering a bad crash and losing 1:16 on the bunch.

Stage 9: Arras Citadelle - Roubaix, 156.5km

Winner: John Degenkolb
Leader: Greg Van Avermaet

 John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) dedicated the win to a friend who passed away suddenly last winter

John Degenkolb claimed an extremely emotional victory on stage 9, floating over the cobbles with fellow former Paris-Roubaix champion Greg Van Avermaet and then out-sprinting the maillot jaune and Yves Lampaert for the win. Richie Porte crashed out before the race really got going, while Rigoberto Uran was the only GC hopeful to lose significant time, giving up 1:28 after a crash.

 Stage winners and classification leaders progression

StageWinnerLeaderPointsMountainsYouthTeamsCombativity
1Fernando GaviriaFernando GaviriaFernando GaviriaKevin LedanoisFernando GaviriaQuick-Step FloorsYoann Offredo
2Peter SaganPeter SaganPeter SaganDion SmithSylvain Chavanel
3BMC Racing TeamGreg Van AvermaetSøren Kragh Andersen
4Fernando GaviriaJerome Cousin
5Peter SaganToms SkujinsToms Skujins
6 Dan MartinDamien Gaudin
7Dylan GroenewegenLaurent Pichon
8Dylan GroenewegenFabien Greiller
9John Degenkolb Damien Gaudin

 

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