Rigoberto Uran winds back the clock
Former Giro d’Italia podium finisher Rigoberto Uran, took the plaudits and broke his Tour de France duck with a photo finish sprint.
In a turn of unfortunate events, the Colombian found himself stuck in one gear after his electronic shifting stopped working when he avoided the Richie Porte crash.
With the race nearing its climax there was no time for Uran to make the change to a new bike and was forced to make do with what he had.
In a reduced bunch sprint Uran wound his attack from far out and timed it perfectly as he narrowly beat Warren Barguil over the line to break French hearts.
After two years without a WorldTour win, Cannondale-Drapac have well and truly broken the curse with two Grand Tour stage victories this year, after Pierre Rolland won in the Giro d’Italia
Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas crash out
Considered by many as the closest rival to Chris Froome, Richie Porte left the race after crashing on the descent of the Mont du Chat as he misjudged a bend and rode onto the verge.
Crashing to the tarmac he brought down fellow GC hope Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors). Unlike Martin, the Australian didn’t get back up after crashing hard on his right shoulder.
One of the more influential riders in the race, Thomas’s exit with a collarbone fracture will go some way to deciding whether Team Sky make it to Paris in yellow or not.
Thomas, who had worn the yellow jersey after his stage one victory, was caught off guard by a stunning attack by Ag2r on the descent of the day’s first major test and paid the price after coming down when Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) crashed in front of him.
His absence was felt by Chris Froome who was suffering at that stage too as he struggled to control a GC group that was left behind.
That absence will continue to be felt as Froome now faces two weeks of racing without his main lieutenant towing him along.
Romain Bardet and Ag2r La Modiale play their wildcard
In incredible scenes, the French team that’s based in today’s region used their insider knowledge to stage a two pronged attack on the slippery descents of Col de la Biche.
With a surprise move Romain Bardet‘s men split apart the race 67km into today’s stage sending three riders up the road while also attacking the main GC group too.
The exciting tactics may have set the race alight but Ag2r felt the burden as they hit the Grand Colombier with the race slightly regrouping but it set a precedent for the final climb of the day where Bardet was expected to attack.
While the tactics didn’t pay off with a stage victory, Bardet gained considerable time on his podium rivals of Dan Martin and Nairo Quintana as he moved into third position.
Chris Froome survives tough day
While riders all around him were crashing out of the Tour, Froome showed that you don’t need to be the best rider to win, you just have to stay upright.
The Brit rode a fantastic race that had started out with him and his team losing control of the peloton thanks to a well worked attack by Ag2r La Mondiale. However, after regrouping Froome found himself alongside Fabio Aru, Nairo Quintana and Romain Bardet, and the race leader pushed the agenda.
It wasn’t long before Aru, Bardet and Froome were blazing down the Mont du Chat and working together to finish the race in a bunch sprint.
Normally this would be cause for celebration but after losing Geraint Thomas in a crash earlier on in the day, Froome will have mixed emotions.
Good etiquette lives on in the peloton
Suffering a mechanical on the ascent of the Mont du Chat, Froome was forced to change bikes and Fabio Aru decided to attack. However, in the hark back to the golden days of cycling the group slowed to await Froome’s return.
Aru was even chased down by Quintana and Porte and brought back, a scene in stark contrast to the former’s racing earlier in the year when he was perceived to have attacked Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin as he took a nature break along with a number of other contenders.
In classic British fashion, Froome returned the favour to Aru with some passive aggression as he body checked the Italian road champion on the following hair pin.
Froome was quick to apologise but make no mistake, the Team Sky man will probably remember Aru’s attack for some time.