Geschke breaks down in tears after losing Tour de France polka dot jersey

Simon Geschke Cofidis Tour de France 2022 stage 18 polka dot jersey
Simon Geschke (Cofidis) breaks down after losing the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France (Image credit: France 2)

Simon Geschke (Cofidis) was in tears at the finish of stage 18 of the Tour de France after slipping out of the mountains classification lead.

Stage winner and race leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) took the top spot after his victory on the hors categorie climb to Hautacam, but Geschke will still have his name written in the history books as the German to spend the most days in the polka dot jersey with nine.

With only three more points available until the finish in Paris, re-taking the polka dot jersey will be impossible for the Cofidis rider.

Geschke tried to make it to the day's breakaway on the flatter first 58km of the daunting 143.2-kilometre stage from Lourdes, attacking repeatedly to try to make the move, but missed the escape and with it any chance of picking up any further points at the Aubisque, Spandelles, or Hautacam climbs.

"The beginning of the stage was particularly stressful," he said later. "I spent a lot of energy trying to get to the right breakaway. The team did an incredible job again, we came very close to the breakaway on the approach of the Aubisque without succeeding.

"I knew that I had to score points on the Aubisque. From the moment I didn't manage it, I knew that it was going to be impossible to keep the jersey. I am now second in the mountain classification and that is not bad. The polka dot jersey is for the best climber in the Tour de France and I know that the one who deserves it most is wearing it now."

Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) had several teammates in the breakaway to help him to the points on the first HC climb, the Col d'Aubisque, and drew within three points of taking the jersey.

However, the intense competition between Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Vingegaard on the category 1 Col de Spandelles and the final HC ascent to Hautacam gave the Dane 20 points and pushed him over the top.

"The accumulation of effort was fatal but we gave everything we had collectively," Cofidis directeur sportif Bingen Fernández said. "We knew that without scoring points in the Aubisque, we risked losing the jersey.

"Faced with such strong opposition and seeing that the polka dot jersey was won by Jonas Vingegaard, we can't have any regrets. It is still very honourable to be second behind the yellow jersey in this best climber classification."

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Laura Weislo
Managing Editor

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing 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. Laura's specialises in covering doping, anti-doping, UCI governance and performing data analysis.