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The three brutal stages in the Alps defined the overall classification of the 2018 Tour de France through stage 15, and after Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) earned one more day in the race leader's jersey thanks to a day-long breakaway, Team Sky's Geraint Thomas claimed the next two summit victories including the coveted Alpe d'Huez stage to take firm hold of the maillot jaune.
Defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome remained quietly in second place overall, with Thomas deflecting much of the media attention from his teammate for the time being. But the question of who is the real team leader remains the hot topic of the Tour as the Pyrenees loom.
With Team Sky looking almost unflappable - aside from Gianni Moscon, who was ejected on stage 15 for hitting Elie Gesbert - Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) was left as the rider most likely to challenge the duo following the unfortunate exit of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) because of a crash on Alpe d'Huez.
Dumoulin has matched Froome blow-for-blow, his 1:50 gap to Thomas largely a product of his mishap en route to the Mûr de Bretagne. He is only 11 seconds behind Froome and as he showed on La Rosière, he is unafraid to attack him.
Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo) has also become increasingly aggressive, in particular on stage 14 to Mende, where he picked up eight seconds on Thomas. The 1:11 he lost in the team time trial will continue to haunt him: Roglic is now 2:38 down on Thomas and 59 seconds down on Froome. Given his strength in the time trial and rising form, he is poised for a podium push in the Pyrenees.
Roglic's teammate Steven Kruijswijk has also been quietly climbing the rankings, waging a heroic day-long attack to Alpe d'Huez only to be denied at the last. The Dutch team might yet have something up their sleeves.
The second week cracked a number of riders: Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) lost 4:42 on the stage to La Rosière and then struggled to the finish of Alpe d'Huez with the gruppetto the next day, while Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) each lost double-digit minutes in the Alps.
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) lost almost four minutes on La Rosière but slowed the bleeding on Alpe d'Huez, giving up just 42 seconds. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) lost 27 seconds on La Rosière and 1:45 on Alpe d'Huez, then lost another 1:43 on the uphill finish in Mende due to a late puncture.
The time losses for Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) were more of a slow leak than a blow-out, with the French hope ceding a minute on La Rosière but then keeping Thomas and Froome within reach on subsequent stages, but the 31km individual time trial next week will not play into his strengths. He will need to gain minutes in the Pyrenees to have a hope of a podium.
Movistar's much-questioned three-headed approach to the Tour de France proved worth the doubt, with Alejandro Valverde using up all his bullets on La Rosière and neither Mikel Landa nor Nairo Quintana able to capitalize on his work. The team's hopes of a podium finish seem distant, with Landa best-placed in sixth at 3:42 from Thomas, and none of the three a match for Froome or Dumoulin in the time trial. At least they have the teams classification.
There is plenty more intrigue in store for the final week, however, with the tricky descent from the Col du Portillon to the finish on stage 16 sure to raise some heart rates, the breathless 65km stage to Saint-Lary-Soulan on stage 17, and another downhill finish off the Col d'Aubisque on stage 19 all preceding the 31km individual time trial.
While the GC is still up for grabs, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has such a huge lead in the points classification he hardly needed his stage win in Valence to get a virtual lock on the green jersey. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) has the mountains jersey, while Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) leads the young riders classification.
Time (loss)/gains (+=bonuses) on general classification among contenders
|GC Place||Rider||Gap to Thomas||Rest Day 1||Time lost week 2||Stage 10||Stage 11||Stage 12||Stage 14|
|1 (-1)||Geraint Thomas||62:49:47||0:00:00||+0:10||+0:10|
|2 (-6)||Chris Froome||0:01:39||0:00:59||0:00:40||(0:20) +0:04||(0:04)|
|3 (-12)||Tom Dumoulin||0:01:50||0:01:20||0:00:30||(0:20) +0:06||(0:02) +0:06|
|4 (-9)||Primoz Roglic||0:02:38||0:01:14||0:01:24||(0:59)||(0:13)||0:08|
|5 (-12)||Romain Bardet||0:03:21||0:01:49||0:01:32||(0:59)||(0:03) +0:04||(0:14)|
|6 (-4)||Mikel Landa||0:03:42||0:00:59||0:02:43||(1:47)||(0:07)||(0:29)|
|7 (-9)||Steven Kruijswijk||0:03:57||0:02:06||0:01:51||(2:40)||(0:53)||(0:14)|
|8 (-13)||Nairo Quintana||0:04:23||0:02:07||0:02:16||(0:59)||(0:47)||(0:10)|
|9 (+2)||Jakob Fuglsang||0:06:14||0:00:50||0:05:24||(3:53)||(0:42)||(0:29)|
|10 (-14)||Daniel Martin||0:06:54||0:02:39||0:04:15||(0:27)||(1:45)||(1:43)|
|11 (+6)||Alejandro Valverde||0:09:36||0:00:48||0:08:48||(3:30)||(4:29)||(0:29)|
|12 (+8)||Bob Jungels||0:09:53||0:00:07||0:09:46||(0:51)||(4:42)||(3:09)||(0:44)|
|13 (-6)||Ilnur Zakarin||0:10:01||0:01:59||0:08:02||(0:51)||(1:58)||(4:29)||(0:24)|
Rest Day 1 News
- Cobbles cause chaos at the Tour de France but GC battle remains perfectly poised
- BMC Racing vow to fight on despite Porte crashing out
- Peter Sagan: I was too far back on the final sector of cobbles
- Bardet: It's a miracle I'm still in the Tour de France
- Tour Shorts: Moscon questions rapid returns after cobbled crashes, Groenewegen hopes to continue
- Chris Froome insists there is no rivalry within the team at the Tour de France
- CCC step in to save BMC Racing, Ochowicz announces at the Tour de France
- Tour de France: Landa back to normal after Roubaix stage crash
- Dan Martin: Tour de France Roubaix stage was 'an experience'
- Geraint Thomas: It's too early to start thinking about winning the Tour de France
- Tom Dumoulin: It's another Tour de France from Tuesday
- Tour de France: Sky leadership, Ochowicz and CCC, Dumoulin and Degenkolb - Podcast
- Richie Porte: I think the Vuelta is probably a realistic goal
- Injuries force Keukeleire out of Tour de France
- Tour de France: I'm right where I wanted to be, says Nibali
- Degenkolb: I needed two or three secretaries to manage all the congratulations
- Barguil: The plan is to deliberately lose time at Tour de France
- White: Roubaix fatigue could be a factor as Tour de France hits the Alps
Winner: Julian Alaphilippe
Leader: Greg Van Avermaet
- Tour de France: Stage 10 finish line quotes
- Tour de France: Alaphilippe's win earns him Zwift Rider of the Day
- Tour de France: Stage 10 highlights - Video
- Uran loses more time as Tour de France hits the Alps
- Van Avermaet turns the clock back to keep Tour de France lead
- Vincenzo Nibali: It was impossible to attack
- Tour de France: Landa optimistic about Movistar's GC chances in the Alps
- Tour de France: Chris Froome survives comedy of errors and 'Wacky Races moment'
- Alaphilippe: I'm an impulsive rider but I've learned to control myself better
- Dumoulin anticipates change in pace as Tour de France heads for La Rosière
- Adam Yates: On these shorter Tour stages, we race right from the start
- Tour de France: Mark Cavendish survives time cut with less than a minute to spare
- Thomas misses chance for yellow jersey but eyes opportunities ahead
- Dan Martin: Riders are scared of attacking Team Sky
Winner: Geraint Thomas
Leader: Geraint Thomas
- Tour de France: Cavendish, Kittel miss time cut on brutal stage 11
- Tour de France: Stage 11 finish line quotes
- Tour de France: Dan Martin takes opportunity with both hands
- Tour de France: Stage 11 highlights - Video
- Thomas: Chris Froome is Team Sky's best chance of winning the Tour de France
- Tour de France: Daring Dumoulin earns Zwift Rider of the Day
- Vincenzo Nibali pays price as Sky lay down 'crazy rhythm' at La Rosiere
- Nairo Quintana: We tried to play but it didn't go how we hoped
- Tour de France: Tom Dumoulin brings the fight to Sky at La Rosiere
- Craddock: I've made it to the finish of another Tour de France stage
- Cavendish: I never climb off...
- Uran quits Tour de France due to Roubaix crash injuries
- Drama in the Alps – Podcast
Winner: Geraint Thomas
Leader: Geraint Thomas
- Gaviria, Greipel, Groenewegen out of Tour de France
- Tour de France: Stage 12 finish line quotes
- Vincenzo Nibali transported to hospital after crash on Alpe d'Huez
- Tour de France: Stage 12 highlights - Video
- Tour de France: Kruijswijk secures Zwift Rider of the Day
- Movistar hemorrhage more time at the Tour de France
- Tour de France: Geraint Thomas on cloud nine after historic Alpe d'Huez win
- Bardet has no regrets after testing Tour de France rivals on Alpe d'Huez
- Vincenzo Nibali out of the Tour de France
- Tour de France: Kruijswijk denied at the last on Alpe d'Huez
- Tour de France: The Alps in review with Thomas, Dumoulin and Roglic - Podcast
- Dumoulin misses Alpe d'Huez win but remains Team Sky's main Tour de France threat
Winner: Peter Sagan
Leader: Geraint Thomas
- Tour de France: Stage 13 finish line quotes
- Tour de France: Stage 13 highlights - Video
- Peter Sagan navigates changed sprint landscape to complete Tour de France hat-trick
- Kristoff: I thought I had it, but Peter Sagan was too fast
- Geraint Thomas prepares for next yellow jersey battle at Mende
- Tour de France: Peter Sagan wins his second Zwift Rider of the Day
- History repeats itself with Thomas and Froome's leadership contest
- Tour de France: Adam Yates ready to bounce back and hunt stages
- Dan Martin to fight on at Tour de France despite Alpe d'Huez time loss
- Bahrain-Merida considering legal action against Tour de France after Nibali crash
Winner: Omar Fraile
Leader: Geraint Thomas
- Tour de France: Stage 14 highlights - Video
- Tour de France: Stage 14 finish line quotes
- Chris Froome: Tom Dumoulin is our biggest Tour de France threat
- Tour de France: Fatigue catches up with Bardet in Mende
- Tour de France: Roglic's late attack earns Zwift Rider of the Day
- Late puncture costly for Dan Martin at Mende
- Tour de France: Movistar lose more time in Mende
- Geraint Thomas: We'd look really stupid if Froome and I raced against each other
- Roglic gains time on Tour de France GC rivals
- Cycling and the Tour de France have a credibility problem, says Madiot
- Fraile takes his chances at the Tour de France
- Dumoulin: If Chris Froome pulls off another Finestre, there's nothing I can do
- Tour de France: I had nothing to lose, says Stuyven
Winner: Magnus Cort
Leader: Geraint Thomas
- Tour de France: Stage 15 finish line quotes
- Tour de France: Cort is the Zwift Rider of the Day
- Gianni Moscon disqualified from Tour de France
- Tour de France: Stage 15 highlights - Video
- Moscon knows he let the team down with Tour de France disqualification, says Brailsford
- Dan Martin: It's only a race, you might as well enjoy yourself
- Geraint Thomas: I'd rather be winning and getting booed than getting dropped and cheered
- Pauwels out of Tour de France with fractured elbow
- Cort gives Astana a second consecutive Tour de France stage win
- Gianni Moscon sorry for 'incident' with Elie Gesbert
- Tour de France: Transition stages in review featuring Thomas, Froome, Southam – Podcast
- Cyrille Guimard: 'Froome won't give up the opportunity to win a fifth Tour de France'
- Azevedo: Kittel can turn things around
- Brailsford blames Tour de France roadside reactions on 'a French cultural thing'
- Chris Froome: As long as a Team Sky rider wins the Tour de France, I'm happy
- Landa: It's been calm between Thomas and Froome but egos will show
|1||Fernando Gaviria||Fernando Gaviria||Fernando Gaviria||Kevin Ledanois||Fernando Gaviria||Quick-Step Floors||Yoann Offredo|
|2||Peter Sagan||Peter Sagan||Peter Sagan||Dion Smith||Sylvain Chavanel|
|3||BMC Racing Team||Greg Van Avermaet||Søren Kragh Andersen|
|4||Fernando Gaviria||Jerome Cousin|
|5||Peter Sagan||Toms Skujins||Toms Skujins|
|6||Dan Martin||Damien Gaudin|
|7||Dylan Groenewegen||Laurent Pichon|
|8||Dylan Groenewegen||Fabien Greiller|
|9||John Degenkolb||Damien Gaudin|
|10||Julian Alaphilippe||Julian Alaphilippe||Pierre Latour||Movistar||Greg Van Avermaet|
|11||Geraint Thomas||Geraint Thomas||Alejandro Valverde|
|12||Geraint Thomas||Steven Kruijswijk|
|13||Peter Sagan||Michael Schar|
|14||Omar Fraile||Jasper Stuyven|
|15||Magnus Cort||Rafal Majka|
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.
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