Tour de France stage 18 analysis: It's not all about yellow

Richard Carapaz in the polka dot jersey after stage 18 of the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Forty-five kilometres into the 18th stage of this year’s Tour de France, Richard Carapaz, in the break for the third day in succession, launched his sprint up to the summit of Cormet de Roselend, after a leadout from Michał Kwiatkowski. Immediately, one of the stars of this year’s race, Marc Hirschi, was on his wheel and exploded past the 2019 Giro d'Italia champion, denying him maximum points in the King of the Mountains competition, and finally lighting the touchpaper on a competition that had lain dormant for almost three weeks. Hirschi repeated the feat on the Côte de la route des Villes, and the Col des Saisies, ensuring that there would be a battle for the polka dot jersey worthy of its reputation and history.

If you asked someone who wasn’t a cycling obsessive to name one of the leaders’ jerseys at the Tour de France, they would probably be able to name the yellow and polka dot jerseys. In the case of the latter, it’s a shame then that it’s so rare to see a duel that lives up to the status of the jersey.

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Adam Becket is the staff writer for Procycling magazine. Prior to covering the sport of cycling, he wrote about ecclesiastical matters for the Church Times and politics for Business Insider. He has degrees in history and journalism. A keen cyclist himself, Adam’s favourite race is the Tour of Flanders or Strade Bianche, and he can't wait to go to the Piazza del Campo for the end of the race one day.