Rigoberto Urán's hopes of finishing on the Tour de France podium suffered a blow on Wednesday's stage to the Col de Portet and ended definitively on Thursday’s stage 18 to Luz Ardiden, cruelly the final mountain stage of this year’s race.
The 34-year-old Colombian lost contact with the leaders three kilometres from the summit of the Col du Tourmalet and was unable to regain contact on the fast descent to the foot of the final climb to Luz Ardiden.
Urán eventually finished 43rd, 8:58 behind the stage winner and overall leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), finishing with EF Education-Nippo teammates Magnus Cort and Neilson Powless, clearly performing below his usual level and suffering on the climbs.
Urán had come into the Tour de France with only 20 days of racing in his legs after becoming a father in the early season. However, he impressed at the Tour de Suisse, winning the mountain time trial and finishing second overall, convincing EF Education-Nippo to change their Tour de France strategy.
Urán had held a podium spot since the Alpine stage 9 to Tignes but slipped to fourth on Wednesday, 7:17 down on Pogačar. His losses in the high Pyrenees on Thursday saw him slip six further places to 10th at 16:25.
He is now almost three minutes down on Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) in ninth and so unlikely to move up the overall classification in Saturday’s time trial stage from Libourne to Saint-Emilion Bordeaux.
EF Education-Nippo were in second place in the teams classification behind Bahrain Victorious before the stage to Luz Ardiden but Urán’s time loss has ended their hopes of snatching a place on the final podium in Paris.
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