• Today’s stage: Mourenx – Libourne, 207 kilometers

After the four mountain stages having been held in the Pyrenees, and which will have seen the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar consolidate his yellow jersey with two consecutive victories, the peloton will be able to breathe, Friday July 16, between Mourenx (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) and Libourne (Gironde). This 19e The 207-kilometer stage will be above all a transitional stage before the time trial on Saturday and should benefit a large breakaway or the sprinters.

Apart from the Côte de Bareille (category 4), located at the very beginning of the course, no difficulty awaits the 144 runners who are still in the race. The race for the green jersey, put in brackets in the Pyrenees, will therefore be able to resume on Friday, while Mark Cavendish dominates the standings, with 287 points, and ahead of Michael Matthews (251 points) and Sonny Colbrelli (201 points). ).

With a fifth victory on this Tour 2021, the Briton of the Deceuninck-Quick Step formation could also become the rider with the most successes on the Grande Boucle, as he would have overtaken Eddy Merckx and his 34 victories.

  • The runner: Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews, June 28 in the Tour de France.

A fifth place in Valence (10e stage), a fourth place in Fougères (4e stage), a third place in Saint-Gaudens (16e stage), a second place in Landerneau (1re stage)… In the end, Michael Matthews only needs one victory in this 2021 Tour de France.

The 30-year-old Australian runner is not the first to come in sprinting, however. Already a winner three times on the Grande Boucle (twice in 2017, once in 2016), he also left with the green jersey for best sprinter in 2017.

Unfortunately for him, this year the wolf pack of the Deceuninck-Quick Step crushes everything in its path. Perhaps despite everything, it will leave some crumbs for the rider of the BikeExchange team, second in the classification of the best sprinter. In any case, there are only two steps left to illustrate himself. Today in Libourne, or Sunday on the Champs-Elysées.

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It was the information of the morning, Thursday, on the Tour de France. The Bahrain Victorious team was targeted by searches the night before in the hotel it occupied in Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). At the beginning of the afternoon, the Marseille prosecutor’s office announced that it had opened a preliminary investigation, since July 3, for “Acquisition (…), importation of a prohibited substance or method for use by an athlete ” within the Bahrain Victorious team.

“There is nothing special to report. We had a visit from the police, who asked for the riders’ training records. The police looked on the bus, and that’s it, tried to downplay the boss of the training, Milan Erzen, from the specialized site Cyclingnews. They bothered the runners for about an hour and then left saying thank you. They did not give us the reason for their visit, but we will find out from the lawyers today [jeudi]. ”

“I can tell you that a lot is going on in a pass! “

Philippe Gilbert is not really having the best Tour of his life. At 39, the runner of the Lotto Soudal is not the same since his heavy fall in the descent of Portet-d’Aspet on the 2018 Tour. However, he continues to live funny experiences.

On Wednesday, after crossing the finish line at the top of the Col du Portet, the Belgian was coming back down in the company of Chris Froome and Christopher Juul-Jensen, when a cyclist missed a turn in front of them and had a fall of about twenty of meters. The three runners stopped to help him, as Gilbert told RTBF, Belgian television. “We called for help because he was still badly messed up. These are experiences that we also live. “

He had announced it, he kept his word. The climber of Groupama-FDJ David Gaudu had thus warned, Wednesday evening: if he “had the legs”, he intended to attack in the 18e stage, Thursday, between Pau and Luz Ardiden. And, obviously, the 11e of the general classification had them.

It all started with a first offensive by Valentin Madouas, his team-mate, to position himself at the head of the stage in the good breakaway, before tackling the two non-category passes on the program. Then in the first kilometers of the Tourmalet, David Gaudu attacked in turn, to catch up with his teammate at the head of the race.

The two men took the lead in the legendary pass, before the first cracked and let the second lead the stage. Followed in particular by Julian Alaphilippe and by Pierre Latour, David Gaudu will gradually let go of his breakaway companions and begin the final ascent on his own.

Despite his efforts, he will not be able to distance the group of the yellow jersey, led by the Ineos Grenadiers, who will catch up with him 8 kilometers from the finish. In the end there are 11e overall, just two minutes from the Top 10. However, this Friday he will wear the red bib of the most combative of the day. Little consolation.


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