Durbridge most combative after spending day in break with Hayman on stage 18 of TdFThu 26 Jul 2018
Offering some welcomed respite from the mountains, stage 18 of the Tour de France finished in a bunch sprint but not before Mitchelton-SCOTT animated the race, with Luke Durbridge being awarded the most combative rider of the day.
Earlier in the day, Australians Durbridge and Mathew Hayman in a breakaway of five riders but they were kept on a tight leash for the 171km stage.
Mitchelton-SCOTT duo in the break:
Powerhouses Hayman and Durbridge joined the day’s early breakaway of five riders and despite multiple attempts to bridge, they remained a quintet for most the day.
Regardless, the peloton didn’t allow them a lot of room to move and they never established more than two and a half minute’s advantage.
The group was caught with 17km to go as the peloton stretched into single file with the pace. Eventually, it was Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) who pleased local fans with the victory.
Luke Durbridge – Most Combative:
“You have to put yourself out there in the breakaway and it’s really up to the bunch to decide if you stay away.
“We played cat and mouse with the peloton, we tried to go a little bit easier so they would give us more time, but in the end when you’ve got three or four teams chasing you it’s not up to you. We gambled, we lost, but we gave it a good crack anyway.
“We definitely had some strong boys in the break, I feel this (the combative award) should go to five guys today.
“Obviously there is some frustration with how our Tour de France has gone but if you’ve seen how we’ve bounced back from each stage trying, the energy in the bus is still positive. If the energy wasn’t positive, we wouldn’t be trying. It’s a shame the way it’s gone, but we’re positive, we’re upbeat in the bus and tomorrow we will roll the dice again.”
Tour de France – Stage 18 Results:
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 3:46:50
2. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) ST
2. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) ST
16. Michael Hepburn (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 18:
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 74:21:01
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1:59
3. Christopher Froome (Team Sky) +2:31
24. Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) +38:34
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.