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Tour de France 2018: Peter Sagan wins Stage 13 sprint finish

Jack Elton-Walters
20 Jul 2018

Peter Sagan took the stage win and extended his lead in the green jersey competition

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won Stage 13 of the 2018 Tour de France from a scrappy sprint finish, after three days in the mountains that saw some key fast men depart the race.

Despite the work of his Groupama-FDJ team, for almost the entire stage, Arnaud Demare could only manage third as Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) lunged for second.

This wasn't a classic of the sprinting genre, with the lead out trains lacking organisation and the final kilmoetres keeping speeds in check, but it was an exciting end to an otherwise less than entertaining transitional stage.

The story of Stage 13

Following three days of mountains, culminating in the summit finish on Alpe d'Huez, many in the peloton were happy for a relatively restful day. But not Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).

The perennial breakaway enthusiast went early in the stage and at first he was joined by only Tom Scully (EF-Drapac). Later, Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis) and Michael Schär (BMC Racing), made the duo a quartet.

Their advantage soon went out over two minutes and the four riders worked well together, ticking off the kilometres between them and either the likely passing of the peloton or the unlikely win of a breakaway that becomes a stayaway.

With the gap held just below the two minute mark, the former always seemed more likely than the latter. That gap was brought down to a minute and held there by the main bunch.

The main bunch was headed for much of the day by Groupama-FDJ, with some contribution from Bora-Hangrohe and UAE-Team Emirates.

FDJ's intentions were clear, with Arnaud Demare's chances of winning a sprint much increased by the absence of riders who had beaten him to the line in the first week.

On an uncategorised climb of around 6km in length, to a lot of people's surprise De Gendt was the first of the breakaway to call it a day and be caught by the peloton.

Claeys was the next to be swallowed while ahead Schar went solo and got his lead back out to 48 seconds after it had dropped to 15 when the reakaway slowed.

Under the 20km to go banner and the teams containing a General Classification contender, or outside hopeful, were seen near the front mixing it with those hoping to set-up a sprint.

Their efforts paid off in the end as the top of the GC was much the same as it had been at the start of the stage.

The kilometres ticked by rapidly as the race headed down a hugely wide road; riders spread to either side of the road as the pace went up and riders tried to find the best wheels to follow.

All the while, Schar pushed on at the front, doomed but not giving up easily. In sight but not caught, the peloton toyed with Schar for a couple of kilometres until he sat up with 5.8km left of the stage.

Having seen his team leaders to the safety of the 3km to go banner, Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) pulled to the side of the road and let the sprinters' teams take over.

Despite that, Chris Froome could be seen with his nose in the wind from time to time before also falling back through the pack.

Trek-Segafredo took up the charge through the narrow streets of Valence, as riders behind jumped from wheel to wheel due to a general lack of organisation.

Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) launched solo within the final kilometre but he couldn't hold off the fast moving peloton.