Race report

GC riders fight for stage honours in brutally tough TT

Tour de France

The penultimate stage of the Tour de France saw the peloton faced with a brutally tough final time trial, that ended with the climb to La Planche des Belles Filles – an ascent that averages just over eight percent for six kilometres. To get there they would first have to traverse 30 kilometres of undulating and energy sapping roads.

With the team not fighting for a top GC result, the main focus for the majority of the riders was to get through today’s stage unscathed ahead of the final stage in Paris tomorrow. Some of the team did give it a good go in the time trial, with yesterday’s stage winner Søren Kragh Andersen lighting up the timing sheets around the course, setting the third best provisional time at the finish, stopping the clock in 59 minutes and 54 seconds.

As the GC riders began to finish their rides Kragh Andersen fell down the order, still ending the stage in a very respectable 16th place. All eyes now turn to the final stage in Paris tomorrow and the expected sprint finish on the Champs Élysées.

It was also announced during the stage that Marc Hirschi won the prize for the most combative rider of the whole race, a just reward for the Tour debutant after several gutsy rides at the race.

“Apparently the media keep saying that I have good legs but for me it felt pretty hard out there today, and I felt like I never really had good legs,” joked Kragh Andersen at the finish. “Yeah, it was surprisingly hard today. I expected to have a higher average speed but the parcours was just really tough. I think the wind picked up a little bit and the headwind on the flat made it that bit harder. To take a provisional third place was good. With yesterday’s win, I’m overwhelmed and really happy. I’m happy that we finally go to Paris tomorrow and we can celebrate together.”

Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston added: “It was a really solid time trial by the team with some good performances including Søren. After his stage win yesterday showed that he can back it up day-after-day with another really good performance. All-around we’re really happy with the process that we followed. We work really closely with the experts for the time trial and we finished off stage 20 of the Tour in the nice way. Now we head onto Paris for the final stage tomorrow.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 POGAČAR Tadej UAE-Team Emirates 55:55 120
2 DUMOULIN Tom Team Jumbo-Visma 1:21 50
3 PORTE Richie Trek - Segafredo ,, 25
16 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb 3:59 -
48 BENOOT Tiesj Team Sunweb 6:36 -
63 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team Sunweb 7:17 -
64 PEDERSEN Casper Team Sunweb 7:18 -
91 HIRSCHI Marc Team Sunweb 8:29 -
97 ROCHE Nicolas Team Sunweb 8:34 -
119 BOL Cees Team Sunweb 9:23 -
143 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 11:04 -