A magnificent effort from Team Sunweb’s Warren Barguil saw his offensive riding strategy pay off today, as he stormed to a historical stage 13 Tour de France victory.
The thirteenth stage of the Tour de France was a short, snappy day out with three first categorised climbs and an intermediate sprint to contest along it’s 101 kilometre route from Saint-Girons to Foix.
With such a short stage ahead, the action was hot from the gun. Involved in the day’s first attack was Team Sunweb’s king of the mountains leader Warren Barguil. After spending 10 kilometres up the road and never allowed to take more than a ten second lead, his attack was neutralised and he rejoined the peloton to calculate his next move.
Team Sunweb’s attention then shifted to the intermediate sprint which came at kilometre 13.5. Michael Matthews won the sprint from the bunch, placing third and adding 13 points to his points tally.
Almost immediately after the sprint the road began to rise and Warren launched a counter attack less than one kilometre from the summit of Col de Latrape to chase down a three-rider breakaway that had gotten away. His effort paid off as he collected eight points in the king of the mountains classification, later adding a further six atop Col d’Agnes.
A regrouping at the front of the race saw two riders up the road and Warren inside a chasing group. An impressive ride from the Frenchman saw him cling onto the group of favourites as it reduced down to just him and one other. After a huge effort in his pursuit of the two leaders he reached and passed the leading duo in time to take maximum KOM points atop Mur de Péguère.
The quartet continued to not only maintain, but extend their advantage on the approach to the finish and with 10 kilometres to go they held a two minute advantage. After collecting a bundle of king of the mountains points Warren was left to duke out the stage victory. On the home straight he maintained second wheel in the group and on the final corner before the line, used every inch of road to accelerate past his rivals storming to the stage victory.
“This is an incredible victory to take, it hasn’t sunk in properly yet,” explained a euphoric Warren. “We were close already on Sunday, but we kept our confidence and chosed an offensive strategy from the beginning today. After I made it up the first climb I knew that I wasn’t going to give up. Before I knew it I was at 800 metres to go looking at the other guys and I knew who would attack and when and I used that to my advantage as a lead-out for my sprint. I’ve been so close to the win quite a few times now so to have the winning feeling back today is incredible. Of course a victory on Bastille day makes this even more special.”
Team Sunweb’s Tour de France coach Aike Visbeek added: “We believed in the team’s ability to take a stage victory at the Tour and everybody has remained committed to that goal so it’s great that all of our hard work has paid off. Our aim today was for Warren to ride offensively both for the stage win and to defend his KOM jersey. He remained motivated and calm going into the final, pacing everything to perfection. This victory is great for the team morale and a well deserved win after some challenging days in the mountains.”