Chris Anker Sørensen’s (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) ability to finish the Tour de France was thrown into uncertainty during the 17th stage when a momentary lapse in concentration led him to attempt to remove a newspaper that was caught in his front wheel. This poor decision after 18 days of racing didn’t end well. The Dane got himself caught-up in the process and suffered deep cuts to his hand. He visited the doctor, was bandaged as best as possible and finished the stage – protecting his 14th-place on the general classification.
The prospect of him starting the following day’s stage was uncertain but stage 18 began with Sørensen in the bunch. He rode out the stage and then cemented his top-20 GC spot in the final time trial, holding off the next place rider Denis Menchov (Katusha) in the process.
"It was a tough time trial today that seemed endless out there on the long flat stretches with severe headwind but I managed to get through with a good feeling and without as much pain in my hand as I feared and now, it seems like I can maintain 14th overall," said Sørensen.
It was this kind of resolve that Sørensen’s "super combative" award was finally decided by the race directors. He was up against his own teammate Michael Morkov, polka-dot wearer Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Rabobank’s Luis León Sánchez. All of these riders have shown their faces multiple times at the head of a stage but Sørensen’s unfortunate accident and his ability to continue was perhaps a blessing in disguise.
"Sørensen has been in many breakaways even that was without success, but the choice was difficult," said race director Jean-Francois Pescheux.
Sørensen was obviously pleased to have completed the final time trial and now looks to the final stage of this year's Tour.
"However, there's still a stage tomorrow and a certain final criterium in Paris where we hope to support JJ [Haedo] and get a good result."