Stage 18: Briancon to Izoard
In recent years, col d’Aubisque (2007), col du Tourmalet (2010) and col du Galibier (2011) have hosted extraordinary stage finishes whereas the Tour de France usually crests those summits and proceed to another destination. It’s the last day in the mountains and a day that Chris Froome needs to be on top form in order to seal the deal for the yellow jersey, barring injury or a terrible time trial on Saturday.
Make it 4
Chris Froome is 3 days away from closing the books on his 4th tour victory. Chris Froome will go down as one of the greatest cyclists in history with this win. Today Froome showed that he’s still the man to beat. There was attack after attack and Froome and Sky were able to reel them all back in. Then as Sky hit the last 3K to the finish they sent Landa on the attack. None of Froome’s rival responded, Bardet or Uran. Then Froome attacked, which was amazing as Froome usually plays the defensive battle rather than the offensive. We did see Bardet go for the sprint to gain the 4 second time bonus as the 3 place stage winner. With less than 30 secs separating the top 3, Froome, Bardet and Uran anything could happen in the time trail. However, Bardet and Uran don’t have the TT skills of Froome. With Froome going last on Saturday he will know exactly what time he needs to finish to win the Tour de France 2017.
Barguil and Team Sunweb, a fantastic tour
The unexpected team of the tour this year had to be team Sunweb. Barguil was amazing in the mountains. So much so that Barguil was able to gain 8 mins back of his 15mins from the leader, Froome. This moved Barguil up into the top 10. Not only that but with a Frenchman, Barguil, in the polka dot jersey and fellow Frenchman, Bardet, in 2nd place overall; France is having an amazing tour. With this stage win there is absolutely no way for anyone to challenge Barguil for the Polka Dot (King of the Mountains) Jersey. Team Sunweb’s Matthews will also wear the Green Jersey (Sprinter’s Jersey) in Paris. This is a huge result for a team that no one was talking about. But one things for sure, people will be talking about Sunweb next year.
Landa, the Future of Spain?
One thing we learned this tour is that Landa is strong and had team Sky not kept him line could he be sitting on the podium? We will never know. But what seems to be clear is that Landa is moving off the team next year and Landa could be a real contender for the tour win in 2018. Landa as a domestic (A work horse for Chris Froome and team sky) sits in 4th place overall which is an incredible feat. It will be exciting to see what happens with Landa in 2018.