Copyright: Lotto-Soudal

Thomas De Gendt attacked in the first of two mountain stages through the Pyrenees, a 214.5 kilometres long stage from Pau to Peyragudes. There were numerous attacks in the beginning with the Lotto Soudal riders being very active. After fifteen kilometres De Gendt came to the front and a breakaway of twelve riders was established. Sky took control of the bunch and the escapees got about six minutes lead. That was not sufficient to battle for the stage win.

On Port de Balès, with top at 30.5 kilometres from the finish, De Gendt reduced the group to six and a few kilometres further he was only accompanied by Steve Cummings. At less than three kilometres from the top Cummings distanced De Gendt. De Gendt collected 29 KOM points today, putting him now second in the ranking with a total of 32 points. Warren Barguil keeps the polka dot jersey, he has seventy points.

Cummings remained in front until 8.5 kilometres to go and then it was up to the GC riders. Romain Bardet was the best rider on the steep finish in Peyragudes, ahead of Rigoberto Urán and Fabio Aru who takes over the yellow jersey from Chris Froome. Tiesj Benoot was the best ranked Lotto Soudal rider, finishing seventeenth at 4’33”.

Thomas De Gendt: “This is a completely different kind of racing than last year. Then a break had already survived a few times by the third weekend. Now Sky sets a very high pace and doesn’t give enough advantage for breakaways to get to the finish. I felt good and the same went for Cummings. Four minutes advantages with still a few climbs on the course is just too small of a gap.”

“I have not yet had a super day this Tour, I hope that still has to come. I did have fun today. When I am in the break I always battle for the KOM points. That was not easy today as Matthews is a teammate of Barguil, he was first on Col de Menté. At the moment I am not thinking about the polka dot jersey as Barguil has such a huge advantage, but I would be crazy not to pick up the points.”