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Tour de France 2018: The winners and losers

Joe Robinson
30 Jul 2018

Cyclist take a look at which riders have had Tour of their lives and those who have fallen below par

The 2018 Tour de France is already over. The past three weeks have passed like a blur and while that may not seem like a true classic of a race, there have been a whole host of talking points from striking farmers to grid stage starts and extra-short stages.

The race for General Classification was never out of Geraint Thomas's control. He was head and shoulders above his competition, failing to put a single foot wrong throughout the entire race.

He comprehensively beat Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) across the Alps and Pyrenees and proved he was stronger than teammate and defending champion Chris Froome.

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took a sixth green jersey, just, limping to the finish after crashing heavily on Stage 17. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) dominated the polka dot jersey, also taking two stage wins, while Pierre-Roger Latour's white young rider's jersey salvaged a poor Tour for AG2R La Mondiale.

Below, Cyclist has taken a look at which riders have had the Tour of their lives and those who will be looking to press the reset button.

The Winners

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

It's pretty pointless dissecting the reasons as to why the Thomas leaves the Tour de France as one of the big winners. The yellow jersey on his back and smile on his face is all you need to know.

So instead, here are some interesting facts about the Welshman after his Tour victory.

Thomas becomes the first rider ever to win the Tour and one-day classic E3-Harelbeke, a sign of versatility. Although the third British riders to win yellow, he is in fact the first rider to win the race who was born in the UK.

The Welshman also joined teammates and compatriots Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins in securing the majority of their winning margin before the first summit finish had even been raced.

Team Sky PR team

If it had been Chris Froome on the top step in Paris, you cannot help but think the yellow jersey's reception would have been, well, mixed.

Public criticism of the four-time defending champion was high before the Tour, especially with his 11th hour acquittal for an adverse analytical finding for salbutamol.

Boos rang out across the three weeks and some even tried to escalate the issue to physical blows.

Today, we would have been reading a mixture of articles from praising a rider for winning a fourth consecutive Grand Tour to simply questioning Froome's right to race. An arduous spin for even the likes of Sir Dave Brailsford.

Luckily, this situation was avoided with Thomas taking his maiden Tour, and deservedly so.

I'm not saying this victory was not deserved. Thomas was the strongest the rider in the race and failed to put a foot wrong. He almost rode the perfect race.  

But it is undeniable that the sell of an affable, relatable boy from Cardiff will be easier for Brailsford and his already highly-criticised team than a rider that has divided opinion in professional cycling like a hot knife through butter.

Julian Alaphilippe

Panache is not dead. It lives in Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe of Quick-Step Floors. A rider that is fuelled by raw emotion.

The 26-year-old became the latest darling of the French public with a daring raid across both the Alps and Pyrenees in his pursuit of the polka dot jersey.

On his way, Alaphilippe secured 12 mountain sprints which eventually saw him beat Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic) with a convincing 119 points margin.

Along the way, Alaphilippe also picked up two stage wins in the mountains thanks to a willingness to attack, never-say-die attitude and believe in his ability to win alone. 

Just take his chase of Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) on the final descent into Bagneres-de-Luchon. The pressure he put on the Brit was probably a factor in his eventual spill, which subsequently saw Alapihlippe win. Aggressive racing rewarded.

However, what makes Alaphilippe the true winner is how he offered to wait for Yates to remount in the spirit of fairness.

Notable mentions:

Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac) for riding the entire Tour despite a fractured scapula, raising over $200,000 for charity in the process  

UAE-Team Emirates for winning two stages and having Dan Martin take home the super combative award  

LottoNL-Jumbo for being the team that Movistar were not when competing with Team Sky  

The Losers

Movistar 

So sure, Nairo Quintana took the short and explosive Stage 17 to the Col du Portet with a solo ascent of the final climb and Mikel Landa launched a daring 100km attack on the final mountain stage of the race but I cannot help but feel disappointed with Movistar.

They were the team expected to take the race to Team Sky but they flopped with their trio of GC riders only managing 7th, 10th and 14th.

At times they seemed more concerned with the team classification than riding for yellow, a classification that will be soon be forgotten.

At times, it seemed as if the only rider willing to take the race by the scruff of the neck was young Marc Soler.

It was far from a vintage display from Quintana, Landa and Valverde and all three will be expected to improve before the Vuelta a Espana in August.

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 

After two years on the podium, Romain Bardet's sixth place could be considered a step backwards. 

Bardet's problems did not lie within the individual time trial or tricky first week, as such, but more within the mountains, a terrain that the Frenchman usually relishes.

The 27-year-old lost almost two minutes on the short 67km summit finish atop the Col du Portet, simply lacking the power to hang with the leading riders.

Unlike years previous he just simply looked to be outclassed at times in the mountains. 

Bardet still remains the greatest French hope for Tour success in the current peloton but it's clear that changes are needed for this to become a reality.

Over-zealous fans

If you want to boo a rider, boo him. There's no issue with this. You can even shout a few choice words if you like, that's no problem.

But attemtping to strike a rider is never justified. Regardless of your opinion on Chris Froome, he does not deserve 'fans' attempting to hit him while he races. Just like he, and nobody else, deserves to be doused in any form of fluid.

Also, any fan that brings a flare to a cycling race is not a true fan. The riders are already at the limit, they don't need to be breathing in smoke that is also impairing their vision.

Flare smoke was also a major contributing factor in the crash and eventual abandonment of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) on Stage 12 to Alpe d'Huez. 

Notable mentions:

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) for having more bad luck than a man who craked a mirror while walking under a ladder  

Stage 20 time trials. The penultimate day should be in the mountains  

Boring sprint stages contested by a depleted field of quick men