Tour de France: Fraile wins in Mende

Omar Fraile (Astana) flew to victory on the Mende airstrip on stage 14 of the Tour de France, surviving from a large breakaway. The Spaniard beat out polka dot jersey wearer Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) by six seconds in order to take his third victory of the season, the biggest of his career.

In a day of two races, the breakaway contested the finish 18 minutes ahead of the peloton. Fraile's compatriot Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) kicked off the attacking festivities 59km out, taking with him Stuyven and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data). The Trek-Segafredo man soon went it alone, his fantastic effort coming to naught on the final climb.

There, Fraile piggybacked a Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) attack to launch his own. Catching Stuyven towards the top of the 'Montée Laurent Jalabert', he powered away to win solo despite the best efforts of Alaphilippe, who flew up the latter part of the climb - perhaps leaving his effort a touch too late.

"It's an amazing day," said Fraile after the finish. "I've been dreaming about this victory. In the end we picked up this phenomenal win and it's absolutely amazing. It's easily the best day of my career so far."

"We had a headwind [on the climb] and it was really tricky, but I just tried to climb it at the best rate I could, and in the end I did have the legs. I knew the climb today very well indeed."

Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) led the GC men in, finishing 18:01 behind Fraile. The Slovenian had started the attacking on the final climb and wasn't caught despite the efforts of those behind. Race leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) was next in, 8 seconds later. He couldn't be separated from teammate Chris Froome and third-placed man Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), with the two Sky men being the only riders able to follow the Dutchman's attack 2km from the line.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) trailed ten seconds behind, while Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) lost a further four seconds. Mikel Landa, who looked to have established himself as Movistar team leader on the Alpe d'Huez, came in with his teammate Alejandro Valverde, losing 37 seconds to Roglič.

The top eight positions on GC remain unchanged after the stage, while Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) only bolstered their respective mountain and point classification leads after making the break of the day.

How it happened

Another transitional stage between the Alps and Pyrenees, this one came with a sting in the tail in the form of the uphill finish at the airstrip in Mende. After a largely flat start, the hills reared up midway through as the peloton headed towards the Massif Central.

First up, there was the Côte du Grand Châtaignier (1km at 7.4 per cent) at 81km, 9km before the intermediate sprint at Bessèges. The real climbing started with the second category Col de la Croix de Berthel (9.1km at 5.3 per cent), coming 129km into the 188km stage. A third category climb - the Col du Pont sans Eau (3.3km at 6.3 per cent) followed at 142km before an uncategorised lump and the valley before the finale.

The Côte de la Croix Neuve, a road on Mont Mimat overlooking Mende, provided the final climb of the day before 1.5km of flat road to the airstrip - the 3km climb with an average of 10.2 per cent is also known as the Montée Laurent Jalabert, after the man who won there on its first inclusion in the Tour de France back in 1995.

Since then, Marcos Serrano, Joaquim Rodríguez and Steve Cummings have triumphed there - in 2005, 2010 and 2015 respectively. The climb has also been used in Paris-Nice and Tour du Gévaudan, with Alberto Contador, Davide Rebellin and Alexis Vuillermoz among those to have triumphed there.

One of the few opportunities for puncheurs to show themselves at the 2018 Tour, the stage would be a fierce fight to get on that exclusive list of winners. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), obviously not satisfied with being in the break yesterday, went from the gun to begin his 17th WorldTour breakaway of the season - eight more than any other rider.

The fast start provoked echelons and splits in the peloton early on with Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa (both Movistar) among those caught out. Within the first 20km an easing of the pace led to a regrouping and the escape of a sizeable breakaway group.

Big break

Out front, two groups merged to make a 31-rider breakaway consisting of De Gendt, Peter Sagan and Maciej Bodnar (both Bora-Hansgrohe); Greg Van Avermaet, Damiano Caruso and Stefan Küng (all BMC); Lilian Calmejane, Thomas Boudat, Damien Gaudin, Jérôme Cousin and Sylvain Chavanel (all Direct Énergie); Gorka Izagirre and Kristijan Koren (Bahrain-Merida); Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert (both Quick Step Floors); Anthony Turgis, Anthony Perez, Christophe Laporte and Nicolas Edet (all Cofidis); Jasper Stuyven and Michael Gogl (both Trek-Segafredo); Tom-Jelte Slagter and Julien Vermote (both Dimension Data); Pierre Rolland and Daniel Martínez (both Education First-Drapac); Michael Hepburn and Daryl Impey (both Mitchelton-Scott); Thomas Degand (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Simon Geschke (Team Sunweb), and Omar Fraile (Astana).

With the break's best-placed man on GC being Caruso, who lay 39:18 down, a breakaway stage win looked likely. Increasingly so, as the Sky train leading the peloton was not flying along, allowing the gap to increase gradually to the point where it became clear there would be two races today.

With both the green jersey Sagan and polka dot jersey Alaphilippe in the break, it was no surprise to see the world champion lead the way over the intermediate sprint, while the Frenchman added three points to his king of the mountains total over the first three climbs of the day.

Izagirre starts the attacking

Izagirre signalled his intentions by attacking over the top of the Croix de Berthel, 59km from the finish. After the loss of Bahrain-Merida team leader Vincenzo Nibali on the Alpe d'Huez, a Tour-saving stage win or polka dot jersey bid seemed to be on his mind.

The Spanish champion was joined on the descent by Stuyven and Slagter, with the trio taking a minute on the remainder of the break as they reached the final 50km. The group didn't last long together though, attacking each other on the unclassified climb with 35km to go.

Meanwhile, further behind De Gendt and Calmejane were on the offensive, splitting the chase group for good. The duo soon joined Izagirre and Slagter, while at the 20km to go mark Stuyven ploughed a lone furrow 1:10 up the road.

Almost 20 minutes (over 10km on the road) further back, the peloton were still led by Team Sky, just waiting to hit the day's final climb to the finish. Stuyven's advantage as he hit 5km to go was a solid 1:40 over the disorganised chasing group.

The final climb

As Stuyven hit the climb in the small ring, looking to measure his effort, De Gendt attacked from the chase group, bringing Fraile with him. The Spaniard soon went it alone on the steepest section of the climb, gradually eating into the Belgian's lead.

Stuyven's heroic effort came to an end 2km from the finish as Fraile passed with 500 metres of the climb to go. Further back,in a polka dot whir, Alaphilippe had fired away from the chase group and was eating up the gap to the new leader.

Over the top, Fraile survived out front, while Alaphilippe and Stuyven chased behind. With a 1.5km run slightly downhill to the finish, it was no trouble for the Astana man to stay away though. He had time to celebrate before taking the win ahead of the chasing duo.

The peloton makes it, eventually

AG2R La Mondiale and Sky led the way at the foot of the Croix Neuve, while bad luck struck Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) as he punctured just before the start of the climb. Roglič was the first of the GC men to strike out, attacking with 3km to go.

Egan Bernal (Team Sky) led a select GC group of Thomas, Froome, Quintana, Bardet and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) a handful of seconds further back, while Landa struggled to keep pace. Dumoulin initially looked to be dropping, but paced himself back, attacking with 2km to go as Bernal pulled off the front.

Only Froome and Thomas could follow, with the inseparable trio cresting the climb together behind Roglič. The remainder of the GC top 10 trailed in over the next 38 seconds - all except for Dan Martin, who would drop one place, losing 1:51 to Roglič.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team4:41:57
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors0:00:06
3Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 2 - Cell 2
4Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:12
5Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:17
6Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb0:00:19
7Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 6 - Cell 2
8Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:23
9Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:30
10Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:37
11Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:51
12Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:01:06
13Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:18
14Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:01:26
15Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:01:46
16Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 15 - Cell 2
17Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:02:07
18Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data0:02:25
20Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie0:02:53
22Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data0:03:23
23Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 22 - Cell 2
24Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:03:37
25Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:03:57
26Jerome Cousin (Fra) Direct Energie0:06:35
27Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 26 - Cell 2
28Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:07:11
29Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo0:18:01
30Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:18:09
31Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team SunwebRow 30 - Cell 2
32Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 31 - Cell 2
33Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:18:19
34Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:18:23
35Egan Bernal (Col) Team SkyRow 34 - Cell 2
36Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 35 - Cell 2
37Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:18:33
38Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:18:38
39Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 38 - Cell 2
40Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors0:18:53
43Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:18:56
44Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott0:19:03
45Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:19:04
46Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert0:19:25
47Damien Gaudin (Fra) Direct Energie0:19:28
48Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:19:35
49Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:19:52
50Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team EmiratesRow 49 - Cell 2
51Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 50 - Cell 2
52Jesper Hansen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Maxime Bouet (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:19:59
54Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 53 - Cell 2
55Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data0:20:27
56Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 55 - Cell 2
57Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team SunwebRow 56 - Cell 2
58Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:20:48
59Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert0:20:56
60Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb0:21:18
61Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 60 - Cell 2
62David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:21:20
63Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 62 - Cell 2
64Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 63 - Cell 2
65Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky0:21:32
66Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:21:37
67Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors0:21:45
68Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott0:21:47
69Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:22:13
70Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 69 - Cell 2
71Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 70 - Cell 2
72Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 72 - Cell 2
74Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 74 - Cell 2
76Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 75 - Cell 2
77Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 76 - Cell 2
78Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-AlpecinRow 77 - Cell 2
79Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert0:22:46
80Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 79 - Cell 2
81Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 80 - Cell 2
82Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:22:57
83Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ0:22:59
84Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:23:03
85Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:23:15
86Edward Theuns (Bel) Team SunwebRow 85 - Cell 2
87Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 86 - Cell 2
88Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 87 - Cell 2
89Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 88 - Cell 2
90Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 89 - Cell 2
91Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 90 - Cell 2
92Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension DataRow 91 - Cell 2
93Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 92 - Cell 2
94Chad Haga (USA) Team SunwebRow 93 - Cell 2
95Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 94 - Cell 2
96Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 95 - Cell 2
97Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 96 - Cell 2
98Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 98 - Cell 2
100Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 99 - Cell 2
101Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 100 - Cell 2
102Rory Sutherland (Aus) UAE Team EmiratesRow 101 - Cell 2
103Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 102 - Cell 2
104Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 103 - Cell 2
105Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNL-JumboRow 104 - Cell 2
106Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension DataRow 106 - Cell 2
108Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 107 - Cell 2
109Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:23:21
110Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 109 - Cell 2
111Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 110 - Cell 2
112Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 112 - Cell 2
114Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 113 - Cell 2
115Wout Poels (Ned) Team SkyRow 114 - Cell 2
116Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 115 - Cell 2
117Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-SegafredoRow 116 - Cell 2
118Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 117 - Cell 2
119Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team SkyRow 118 - Cell 2
120Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 119 - Cell 2
121Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
122Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 122 - Cell 2
124Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-SegafredoRow 123 - Cell 2
125Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 124 - Cell 2
126John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo0:24:11
127Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJRow 126 - Cell 2
128Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:24:33
129Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 128 - Cell 2
130Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team SkyRow 129 - Cell 2
131Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 130 - Cell 2
132Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 131 - Cell 2
133Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 132 - Cell 2
134Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 133 - Cell 2
135Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-ScottRow 134 - Cell 2
136Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team EmiratesRow 135 - Cell 2
137Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky0:25:10
138Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-MeridaRow 137 - Cell 2
139Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 138 - Cell 2
140Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 139 - Cell 2
141Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step FloorsRow 140 - Cell 2
142Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:25:18
143Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:25:22
144Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-Jumbo0:25:26
145Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 144 - Cell 2
146Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates0:25:47
147Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ0:25:54
148Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:26:12
149Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:26:19
150Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:26:24
151Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:26:28
DNFPatrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - 90km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe20pts
2Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie17Row 1 - Cell 3
3Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors15Row 2 - Cell 3
4Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal13Row 3 - Cell 3
5Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team11Row 4 - Cell 3
6Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida7Row 8 - Cell 3
10Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert6Row 9 - Cell 3
11Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits5Row 10 - Cell 3
12Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors4Row 11 - Cell 3
13Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott1Row 14 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 - 188km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team30pts
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors25Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo22Row 2 - Cell 3
4Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe19Row 3 - Cell 3
5Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team17Row 4 - Cell 3
6Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb15Row 5 - Cell 3
7Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits13Row 6 - Cell 3
8Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie11Row 7 - Cell 3
9Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott9Row 8 - Cell 3
10Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal7Row 9 - Cell 3
11Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale6Row 10 - Cell 3
12Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale5Row 11 - Cell 3
13Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits4Row 12 - Cell 3
14Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida3Row 13 - Cell 3
15Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors2Row 14 - Cell 3
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KOM 1 - 81km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors1
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KOM 2 - 129km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida5pts
2Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors2Row 2 - Cell 3
4Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors1Row 3 - Cell 3
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KOM 3 - 142km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo2pts
2Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida1Row 1 - Cell 3
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KOM 4 - 186.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team5pts
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo2Row 2 - Cell 3
4Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe1Row 3 - Cell 3
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Best Young Rider
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale4:43:03
2Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:01:01