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Barguil Wins on Final Tour de France Summit to extend KOM Lead!

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Warren Barguil put an exclamation point on a masterful performance in the mountains of the 2017 Tour de France Thursday, winning atop the legendary Col d’Izoard while wearing the polka dot jersey of the mountain classification leader. 

On the final day of racing in the high Alps, the 179km Stage 18 from Briancon to Izoard, the French sensation from Team Sunweb powered his TCR Advanced SL to his second stage win and cemented his hold on the polka-dot jersey with just three stages left before the finish in Paris. 

“I can’t believe it,” Barguil said. “It’s a dream for me. It has been a dream three weeks.”

Barguil, who started the day 10th overall with a sizeable lead in the mountain classification, said he began the final big mountain stage hoping to perhaps move up a spot in the general classification. With his spectacular win on the Col d’Izoard, Barguil did just that, jumping past former Tour winner Alberto Contador and into ninth overall on the GC.

“I was waiting to see how it went,” Barguil said. “I wanted to take some time on Contador to maybe win one spot. I attacked and we came to [Bauke] Mollema and I heard [Contador] say ‘slower’ to [his teammate] Mollema when he was pulling. I passed him and I made my pace to the top.”

Wearing his Giant Pursuit helmet, Barguil flew up the Col d’Izoard, passing all the riders ahead from an earlier breakaway, one by one. The last rider he had to catch was Darwin Atapuma. Barguil had the Colombian in his sights with just over a kilometer to go.

“I saw Atapuma ahead,” Barguil said. “I was behind him in the Tour de Suisse and I closed the gap in the last climb, and today I made it. It’s just crazy.”

Barguil turned up the pace a bit more and dropped Atapuma with 800 meters to go, taking the solo win atop the 2,360-meter summit, the highest finish of the 2017 Tour de France. 

The win was the fourth of this year’s Tour for Team Sunweb, which has had smashing success in both the mountains and the sprints. Barguil has two stage wins and so does sprinter Michael Matthews, who holds the green leader’s jersey of the points leader. Both young riders, who are roommates on the three-week Tour de France, are having career performances.

“Last night I was discussing it with Michael and we never would have expected that we could have the polka-dot and the green jersey,” Barguil said. “It’s just unbelievable.” 

Stage 19 will take riders back down toward the plains toward the coast, crossing three categorized climbs on a day that should favor sprinters or breakaway riders. Matthews will look to defend his green jersey before Saturday’s time trial and Sunday’s final stage in Paris.

donderdag 20 juli 2017

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