The final summit finish of the Tour de France didn’t disappoint with a battle for the stage and General Classification playing out on the tough slopes of the Col d’Izoard.
After multiple breakaway attempts when the flag dropped at kilometer 0, a large group of 54 riders went up the road including Alessandro De Marchi, Amaël Moinard and Nicolas Roche.
The group gained more than 4’30” on the Team Sky-led peloton in the first 50km of racing, before seven riders attacked from the breakaway and established a 30-second advantage with just 100km remaining.
Eight kilometers later, the two groups merged back together by which time their advantage over the yellow jersey group had extended to more than eight minutes.
More attacks came from the breakaway causing the group to split in half, with Roche and later Moinard, making the front selection.
On the high slopes of Col de Vars as the race entered the final 50km, four riders went clear from the breakaway and maintained their advantage on the descent and run into the Col d’Izoard.
Another four riders bridged to the front with 25km to go, with a large chase group including Moinard behind, before three riders attacked again to hit the lead.
The peloton picked up the chase and brought the leading trio to within five minutes inside the final 20km before Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) went solo on the early slopes of the Col d’Izoard.
Multiple chase groups formed behind and back in the peloton, Damiano Caruso was well protected by Michael Schär.
Caruso dropped from the yellow jersey group 9km from the Izoard summit, while ahead Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates) attacked from the chase group to eventually pass Lutsenko and take over the lead with 7km of the climb remaining.
Attacks from the yellow jersey group saw Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) bridge to Atapuma and eventually take the solo win ahead of Atapuma and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) who won the sprint for third place from the General Classification favorites.
Caruso crossed the line in 27th place to retain 11th on the General Classification with three stages remaining.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“For me, overall things went well. Everything that is coming is a plus for me. The rhythm was not so hard but I didn’t have my normal level of energy. I was missing the legs so I suffered as long as I could. Three days to go so we will see.”
“It was hard. It was a big group in front and it wasn’t turning well. It was really fast so it was very hard. It wasn’t easy to think about the win because it wasn’t very well organized in front. We would have needed five or six minutes at the base of the Col d’Izoard to have a chance. I am happy that I was in front today. I am happy with my last days of the Tour, all of the time I have been present and that’s what I will rememb