July 23, 2015 – Romain Bardet took his first victory at the Tour de France with a solo breakaway on Thursday’s 18th stage from Gap to Saint Jean de Maurienne.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

It was only the second home victory at the Tour this year and also a second for 24-year-old Bardet’s AG2R team following Alexis Vuillermoz on the eighth stage. Compatriot Pierre Rolland was second with Winner Anacona of Colombia in third at the end of the second of four Alpine stages.

Chris Froome kept hold of the race leader’s yellow jersey as the top eight riders all came in together at 3min 02sec behind the winner.

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Bardet’s victory, the biggest success of his young career, also propelled him into the top 10 in the overall standings. He is now the leading Frenchman having edged ahead of Warren Barguil by 16 seconds.

Having finished sixth overall last year, Bardet struggled in the first Pyrenean stage 10 days ago but has fought back well since. He missed out on the 14th stage when sparring with French rival Thibaut Pinot in the final kilometer, allowing Englishman Stephen Cummings to beat them both.

But he managed to make the right move this time just before the summit of the hors category Col du Glandon. Bardet was part of an earlier 29-man breakaway that was down to less than a dozen riders when he made his move.

Only Anacona crested the summit with him, 39km from the finish, but Bardet dropped the Colombian on the descent and then held off a poorly organised chase ot win by 33 seconds. Amongst the favourites, both Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali had tried their luck on the 21km long Glandon but helped by teammate Geraint Thomas, fourth overall, Froome kept a close eye on proceedings and no-one got away.

Movistar pair Nairo Quintana (3min 10sec) and Alejandro Valverde (4min 09sec) remain in the podium places.

 

Final 22 Kilometers of Stage 18

Results Stage 18:
1. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 5:03:40
2. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:33
3. Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:59
4. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
6. Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN – Qhubeka 0:01:01
7. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:01:50
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
9. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:55
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:03:02

General Classification:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 74:13:31
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:10
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:09
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:06:34
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:06:40
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:07:39
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:08:04
8 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:08:47
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:12:06
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:12:52