TdF 13: A Wonderful Wilco (but)

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40 degrees. Thirsty French field.
A break-away: DeGendt, Gautier, Geniez, Haas, Kelderman and Périchon have 3'49" advantage after 56 km.
At the intermediate sprint Lotto-Saudal riders play it smart launching both Greipel and Debusschere. André Greipel wins, shoulder by shoulder - phiscally - with Peter Sagan. 1st Greipel, then Degenkolb, 3rd Cavendish. Greipel is back in Green.
Côte de Saint-Cirgue (3rd cat): 3.8 km and 5.8% average gradient. DeGendt comes first.
Crosswind and the peloton splits. Suddenly Peraud crashes at the back of the bunch. It's a big hit. Back on bike he dares the pain, his arm and side covered on blood.
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The break
Vincenzo Nibali got a back wheel flat tyre so he's in the 2nd group. The whole Astana stops to bring him back, Fuglsang first. And it's quickly done.
In front Giant-Alpecin and Tinkoff are pulling. Peraud is back in group - bidon SUPER collé - and even bring bottles for his team mates.
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Froome's bike
Côte de la Pomparie (4th cat): 2.8 km long, average gradient of 5%.. Then Côte de la Selve (4th cat), the last official climb of the day (3.9 km and 3.7% average). Kelderman comes first. Behind Greipel gets dropped. Gap now is 2'.
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Intermediate sprint
24 km to go Haas attacks the break. But the break doesn't let him go. He keeps the back. 15 km to go Kelderman tries but DeGendt and Gautier follow. The group is close. Climb then descent. Gap is 1' 10 km to go. 40'' 7 km to go.
Wilco Kelderman is giving all. Terrific. 2.4 km to go, 18”. 
Flat tyre for Mollema but it's in the neutral zone.
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Poor Peraud
Trains are launched behind. Last ramp. Kelderman attacks. The peloton comes. Caught. Vanavermaet gets off the bunch, Sagan follows. Sprint. The big belgian wins. A second place again for Sagan.

Greg Van Avermaet:
Embedded image permalink“It was really close. I went really early because in Le Havre I waited too long I think. I tried to go almost from the bottom. It was really long and the last 100 metres kept going forever. I saw that there was somebody in my wheel so I just kept on sprinting and hoped that they wouldn’t come over.
I have a very good team and to win the stage is very good. We’ve been doing well so far in this Tour and I think that this victory is a reflection of that performance.”
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Wilco Kelderman:
“Very sad, I was so close. On the road, I did not believe that I would fight for the win. The peloton kept the gap small. When we accelerated and they didn’t really close in on us, I started to believe in my chances. On the final climb, I gave all I had and didn’t look back. With only 500 meters to go, I thought about a victory, but when they caught us, I was done. For me, this is a good result. I had to take it easy in the sprint because Robert Gesink was on my wheel and therefore couldn’t jump into every hole, but I’m happy with this result and the fact that Robert finished in a good position. After my crash, I tried to save as much energy as possible. We picked out some stages to try something, and this was one of them. I don’t think my back will fully recover this Tour, but racing is not a problem now. A little more pain is OK. If your legs hurt, you don’t really feel all the other pain.”
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Chris Froome:
"What started out as a relatively easy day turned out to quite heated in the final. At one point it didn’t look as though we’d bring the breakaway back, so the peloton panicked and everyone was going flat out to catch them. There are some tired bodies out there. It was really hot, but I much prefer those conditions to how it was yesterday with the rain and cold. I’m happy with how things went. I didn’t lose time to anyone and got through it without any major issues, and we’re another day closer to Paris. Today’s climb was only 500m long but there were gaps opening up, and the finish up to Mende tomorrow could be quite selective again. It’s 3km long but quite steep at over 10%, so I’d expect the GC contenders to be putting the pressure on. My legs are feeling good though, so I’m looking forward to it. I think Nairo Quintana and Tejay van Garderen are my two closest rivals – they’re the two closest guys to me on the general classification. I’m in a great position but this is far from over."
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Michael Matthews:
Embedded image permalink“I definitely got sick of being dropped each day. I thought today I would have a go at it. I was positioned well and the team did a really good job in helping to bring the breakaway back, I just didn’t quite have the legs in the final few hundred metres.”

Bauke Mollema:
“The finish climb is one that I like a lot, and I wanted to try to do something on it as I knew there could be gaps. We were moving up in the last five kilometers and with two kilometers to go I had a flat tire.  I got a bike change, which is faster than a wheel change, but we didn’t have to go full gas to the finish anymore because of the three-kilometer rule. The day was harder than expected,” Mollema continued. “The break was really strong today, and it was never easy in the peloton, and the parcours looked pretty flat, but it was never flat! It was always up and down and short climbs, so it was a hard day especially with the heat. It’s too bad I missed trying in the finale, but on the good side we were lucky it did not happen one kilometer earlier.”
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Robert Gesink:
"Hero of the day (by far) @W1lcokelderman ! Back on the highest level after some really hard days. Big, big respect!"

Steven Kruijswijk 
Embedded image permalink"So close! He showed he's back on track, our youngster @W1lcokelderman #Grinta @LottoJumbo_road #hot #baked 🔥🔥"

Peter Sagan:
"It’s not bad luck. It was mistake because I was waiting for too long. I was pushing out of the saddle and then I came to his (Van Avermaet’s) wheel and I sat down. That was my mistake because I needed to carry on pushing so that I could win. But it was my mistake and I’m pissed now."

Thomas de Gendt:
"I thought we might make it until the final 15km but then I saw them coming with a few hundred meters and I knew it was hard. It wasn’t a big group chasing but I couldn’t event sprint. I wanted to at least be third but then they just came past me. I tried my best but again it’s just 300 meters. We knew that it was quite steep in the last 500 meters but the last few days were very hard so you can really feel it in the legs. We had a plan in the break, to try and work together and try and work until the finish and we almost succeeded."
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Nairo Quintana:
"It has turned out to be another extremely hot day. Our goal is to try to get through these stages and try to recover a little before we reach the Alps, although we are aware that no day is easy and there could be a battle tomorrow. The team will work to avoid any problems, and if necessary, Alejandro will surely help me to disrupt the team of Froome once we enter the last week. But there is still much before that."

Edvald Boasson Hagen:
"It was a really hot day but our team was working really well, especially in the end. After always keeping me in the front, Steve and Daniel helped to chase down the break. When it came to the last climb my legs were empty. It was too warm and the lactic acid was too much so I couldn't do anything on the climb which was a pity, but the team was excellent."

Embedded image permalinkJohn Degenkolb:
“I felt very good, had a good position 300m from the finish and went very deep, but at the end I didn’t have the legs to beat the others, it was a little too hard for me. We cannot blame anyone as it was a super team effort. We took responsibility and had the ‘balls’ to take initiative. All my teammates worked very hard and completely gave their all. I have very much respect for them and it is too bad I could not pay back those efforts, but we cannot do anything about it anymore. It was hard for everyone and in the end I was out of power. We tried it, saw the chance, took the chance, but did not win.”

Ramon Sinkeldam:
“It was an extremely hard day as I did a lot of pulling in the first 100km and after that 70km of chasing to make the time split, so I am really exhausted at the moment.”

1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 04:43:42
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 00:00:03
4 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 00:00:07
5 Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
1 Christopher FROOME Great Britain SKY 30 51:34:21
2 Tejay VAN GARDEREN United States BMC 27 +2:52
3 Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS Colombia MOV 25 +3:09
4 Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE Spain MOV 35 +3:58
5 Geraint THOMAS Great Britain SKY 29 +4:03
6 Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO Spain TCS 33 +4:04
7 Robert GESINK Netherlands TLJ 29 +5:32
8 Tony GALLOPIN France LTS 27 +7:32
9 Vincenzo NIBALI Italy AST 31 +7:47
10 Bauke MOLLEMA Netherlands TFR 29 +8:01

Yellow: Froome
Green: Sagan
Polka dot: Froome
White: Quintana

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