Tour de France 2017: Warren Barguil wins on Izoard as Chris Froome maintains control

Frenchman Warren Barguil made Tour de France history in becoming the first man to win atop the legendary Col d’Izoard in an explosive Stage 18 that saw Romain Bardet move four seconds closer to Chris Froome’s yellow jersey with three days of the race remaining

Warren Barguil
Warren Barguil

Team Sunweb’s Barguil – winner of Stage 13 to Foix on Bastille Day last Friday – was already assured of topping the polka dot king of the mountains classification when he made his decisive move inside the final 7km of the gruelling hors categorie climb.

Attacking from the select group of race favourites, Barguil reeled in the remnants of an earlier 54-man break before passing Colombian Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates) with one kilometre remaining. With a huge smile on his face, the 25-year-old surged clear in the eerie Casse Deserte to write yet another stunning chapter in what is proving to be an unforgettable Tour for Barguil and his dynamic Sunweb team.

Twenty seconds passed before a battling Atapuma – denied a win on Colombia Day – just held on for second place ahead of Bardet (Ag2R-La Mondiale), the Frenchman edging British defending champion Froome (Team Sky) for third place and four vital bonus seconds.

With Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) crossing the line two seconds back for fifth place, Bardet rose to second place in the general classification – 23 seconds behind Froome – with Uran now 29 seconds off the summit.

Froome’s Sky team-mate Mikel Landa – who had attacked the main favourites inside the final three kilometres – finished sixth to rise to fourth place on GC at the expense of Fabio Aru of Astana. The Italian national champion struggled with the constant accelerations on the final ascent en route to finishing just over a minute behind Froome and the other GC favourites.

Barguil, who now has an unassailable lead in the polka dot jersey standings, leapfrogged Spaniard Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) into ninth place. The Breton became the first rider to win two stages while wearing the polka dot jersey since the great Colombian climber Luis Herrera in 1985 – six years before Barguil was born.

Britain’s Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) conceded 22 seconds to white jersey rival Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) but retained his seventh place on GC and a lead of more than two minutes over the South African in the youth standings.

Barguil’s Sunweb team-mate Michael Matthews – another double stage winner in this year’s Tour – finished safely in the gruppetto to retain the green jersey he picked up following the withdrawal of German quintuple stage winner Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) on Wednesday.