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Warren Barguil wins dramatic Tour de France 2017 Stage 13 on Bastille Day

Martin James
14 Jul 2017

A Frenchman wins on Bastille Day as Mikel Landa stakes his claim as a serious GC contender

Warren Barguil of Team Sunweb delivered a heroic win for the French on an absorbing and action-packed Stage 13 of the 2017 Tour de France from Saint-Girons to Foix today.

Barguil outsprinted Nairo Quintana of Movistar, Alberto Contador of Trek-Segafredo and Team Sky's Mikel Landa to win from a group of four riders who finished the best part of two minutes clear of the yellow jersey of Fabio Aru (Astana) and the other main favourites.

The move from Landa lifted the Spaniard to fifth overall, just over a minute down and now firmly in the reckoning in the battle for the yellow jersey, while Barguil's win gave the French their first stage win on Bastille Day since David Moncoutié in 2005.

How it unfolded

The shortest stage of this year's Tour lacked nothing when it came to action and excitement, and while the French were hoping one of their own would take the race by the scruff of the neck, it was instead a pair of Spaniards – Landa and Contador – who ignited the race on the roads of the Pyrenees.

After yesterday’s 214.5km leg-breaker to Peyragudes, Stage 13 represented a very different prospect. With three 1st category climbs on the menu, it was very much another mountain stage to further shape the overall race’s narrative. At only just over 101km long, however, it was effectively a sprint compared to the marathon of yesterday.

It meant we’d be spared having to endure detailed musings on the heritage of an endless succession of chateaus and French countryside villages to pass the tedium. Although ironically, there was enough for the commentators to talk about after Stage 12 that they could have done with a couple of hours to work through it all.

Such a short stage, and more importantly one on Bastille Day, was always likely to be action-packed from the start, and so it proved.

One of the first moves to go was also one of the most predictable. Frenchmen Barguil and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) bolted from the peloton in the first 5km, presumably with the strains of La Marseillaise piping through their earpieces.

Alas, the move was short-lived, but with punch and counter-punch coming in quick succession at the front of the peloton, it wasn’t long before another move came together.

Alessandro de Marchi (BMC), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) and Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) quickly opened up a gap to the main field behind, and at the immediate sprint just 13.5km into the stage, it was Chavanel first over the line, while Michael Matthews (Sunweb) just pipped green jersey Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) in the peloton to reduce the German’s massive points advantage by one.

The attacks and counter-moves continued all the way up to the lower slopes of the first climb of the day, the 5.6km Col de Latrape (average 7.3%).

De Marchi wasted little time leaving behind his two companions, while the pace at the front of the peloton, largely dictated by Barguil in the polka dot jersey, quickly blew the field apart, the exertions of the past few days clearly taking their toll.

Chavanel and Gilbert were soon swallowed up by the peloton but De Marchi continued to push on, and crossed the summit with a 30-second lead.

Behind him, Barguil went on the attack looking for mountain points, and was quickly joined by Contador (Trek-Segafredo), now clearly looking for a stage win having seen his GC hopes evaporate over the last few days, and Landa.

The move was a smart one from Team Sky, as Landa’s high overall place and impressive form meant the rest of the overall contenders would have to take the move seriously and drive the pace themselves rather than Sky having to do it.

Just 5km later and we were on to the second climb of the day, the 10km Col d’Agnes (average 8.2%) and soon Spaniards Contador and Landa, happy to work together, had distanced Barguil, while behind them again the peloton started to fragment, having come back together a little over the short descent between the climbs.

Aru, Froome, Bardet and the rest of the main players were all present, but Bardet’s AG2R and Froome’s Team Sky were the only teams with significant support.

Contador and Landa continued to build their advantage, and midway up the climb led a second group of four containing Nairo Quintana – another who saw his GC hopes dashed yesterday – and Barguil by just under a minute and the yellow jersey group of around 20 riders at 1:30.

With the gap to the yellow jersey continuing to grow the situation was looking better and better for Team Sky – albeit in a very different way than anyone was expecting.

Landa had now ridden himself to within a minute of the yellow jersey, they had Michal Kwiatkowski with Quintana in the chase group, while Froome was happily rolling along in a yellow jersey group that nobody seemed interested in controlling.

Landa was first over the top of the Agnes ahead of Contador, while Barguil got another handful of points for third. Then it was downhill again, this time a far longer 24km stretch to the base of the Mur de Péguere (9.3km at 7.9%).

AG2R quickly moved to the front of the yellow jersey group and the gap finally started to come down to the pair up front, who by now were in the sights of the chase group of Quintana, Barguil and Kwiatkowski.

The prospect of having two riders in a front group of five was a tantalising one for Team Sky, but having closed to within 30 seconds of making the junction in the valley, the gap started to ease out again as the road once more tipped upwards.

Still there was no response from any of the main favourites in the yellow jersey group, but with the final 3km of the Mur de Péguere by far the steepest, there was a sense that it was just a matter of time, especially with Landa now within 10 seconds of being the virtual leader on the road.

With the gradient consistently ramping up to over 15% soon there were just seven riders with Aru – Bardet, Froome, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), Simon Yates (Orica Scott), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) – in other words, everyone in the top 10 that wasn't already up the road.

Within sight of the summit, Landa and Contador were finally caught by Quintana and Barguil – Kwiatkowski having been dropped – just in time for Barguil to take maximum points over the top.

Back in the yellow jersey group, meanwhile, finally the attacks started. Froome made a huge effort off the front, but Aru, Bardet and Uran were able to respond and they went over the summit together.

All that remained was a 27km high-speed dash down to Foix, but the attacks were far from finished, with just about everyone trying their luck. Uran very nearly made it stick, but he too was pulled back. Finally Dan Martin did manage to open a gap, then Simon Yates went, but with neither an imminent threat to the yellow jersey, they were allowed to go. 

It all meant good news for the quartet up front, who were working well together and maintaining a gap of around two minutes to the yellow jersey.

The question on everyone's mind was now: could Barguil make up for the heartbreak of Sunday's second place finish to Uran – when he was so sure he'd won – by taking a heroic win for the French on Bastille Day?

Tour de France 2017: Stage 13, Saint-Girons - Foix (101km), result

1. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb, in 2-36-29
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at same time
3. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, st
4. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 0:02
5. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 1:39
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at same time
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 1:48
8. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at same time
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, st
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, st

Tour de France 2017: General classification top 10 after Stage 13

1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, in 55:30:06
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 0:06
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale, at 0:25
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, at 0:35
5. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 1:09
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 1:32
7. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 2:04
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 2:07
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates, at 4:51
10. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 5:22

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