Gilbert lights up Tour de France stage finale
The 2012 World Champion was caught after a late attack just 250 meters from the line.
Stage 13 of the Tour de France rolled out from Bourg d'Oisans with just 152 riders, the lowest number after two weeks since 2000, a consequence of the merciless Alps who decimated the field with their Hors Catégorie climbs and high temperatures. Despite being tired, the field didn't agree with a large breakaway, so only four men got green light in the opening kilometers, but they were kept on a short leash by the teams gunning for a bunch gallop.
Once the last man of that quartet got pegged back with six kilometers to go, the remaining sprinters' teams tried to position themselves at the front, but the numerous corners and roundabouts made it difficult, so Philippe Gilbert tried to take advantage of that by launching a powerful and audacious attack under the flamme rouge kite.
It took quite the effort to bring back the multiple Monument winner, who left everything out there only to be caught inside the final 250 meters, as the sprint opened on the uphill drag, where Peter Sagan took the spoils ahead of Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), with Quick-Step Floors' Yves Lampaert coming home in sixth place.
"The plan was to win, and knowing the final kilometers were pretty technical, I decided to stay in the first 20 positions. I believed in my chances and went for it, trying to use the corners in my favour, but it didn't work out. Hopefully, we will have more opportunities now that the race becomes hard again, this weekend", said Philippe in Valence, where the Tour de France returned after three years.
For Julian Alaphilippe, Friday was an easy day during which the 26-year-old got to enjoy the polka dot jersey which he sports since his emphatic victory in Le Grand-Bornand, when he became the first – and so far – only Frenchman to notch up a victory at the current edition of the race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images