The finish line of a Tour de France stage, or any big race, can often be a confusing place, with a mass of people and information only trickling through. But few finishes brought so much as the end of the queen stage of the 2017 edition.
Watching on some of the small screens dotted around the technical zone, it appeared that Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) had claimed his first ever Tour de France stage. A scrum around Barguil, the second French winner in as many days it seemed, formed as Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) was bungled into the anti-doping truck just beyond the podium.
As Barguil began his winner's interviews with a delighted French television, however, news began to filter through that the result was not what it had first seemed. For the second time in this year's Tour de France, a victor had to be decided by a photo finish.
After close inspection, Uran was awarded the win, his first in the Tour de France. He was so sure that Barguil had taken the day that he didn't believe his team when they told him.
"It was a beautiful stage and a surprise for me. They told me in the control that I had won the stage. I had no idea. When they told me that they thought I had won, I was hesitating," he explained at the finish. "It was a surprise because in the crash with Porte and Dan Martin I broke my derailleur and I only thought about saving the day as best I could, so to be able to take the victory is impressive."
Uran's win was perhaps made more dramatic by the fact that he was unable to change gears for the final 23 kilometres of the stage. It wasn't a bother for the descent, but when he reached the flat, he found himself stuck in a low gear with no team car nearby to help him out. Taking a replacement bike would have been curtains to any hope of a good finish and would have meant time lost in the general classification.
Following a quick discussion with the team car over the radio, he dropped back to the neutral service vehicle, where the mechanic manually put the chain onto the 11-tooth sprocket, and off Uran went. It would be a decision that would eventually win him the stage.
"It was a really complicated stage with a lot of crashes. In the last part, I was stuck in a low gear because the derailleur broke," he said. "I didn't know if I would be able to change my bicycle. I had to make a decision if I wanted to or not and maybe lose some time or maybe arrive with Froome and the others at the finish line. The team asked me if I could do the sprint in a 53 x 11 so I made that decision and now I have won a stage."
As well as making time on plenty of his rivals by managing the climbs better, Uran took 10 bonus seconds for his victory. With everything so close together at the start of the day, it meant a jump from 11th to 4th and a reduction in his deficit to just 55 seconds. Goal one achieved for Uran, he now has his sights set on the general classification.
"I am at a high level and it is important that I have climbed up the general classification," he said. "For me, any stage is great. To win a stage was my objective I am eager now to continue to go up in the general classification."
Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.
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