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The challenging climbs that made stage 11 of the Tour de France a thriller for the GC contenders proved too much for star sprinters Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin).
The fast-finishing duo, as well as Cavendish’s lead-out man Mark Renshaw, came across the line well outside the time limit of 31:27 behind stage winner Geraint Thomas (Sky) on Wednesday.
For Kittel, it’s a disappointing end to his first Tour with new team Katusha on the heels of a dominant campaign that saw him take five stage victories last July. For Cavendish, it marks a second straight Tour without a win. Two seasons ago, his 30 career Tour stage victories seemed so close to Eddy Merckx’s record of 34, but Cavendish will now have to wait until next July to have another shot at adding to his total.
“We wanted to come in hot and win some early stages and see how we go in the first week. Neither materialized for us,” Dimension Data team principal Doug Ryder said. “It didn’t materialize for Cav and for what we wanted to achieve. He misses the time cut today, it’s obviously disappointing, for him, for us.”Stage 11 was a delight for the climbers, but it was miserable for the sprinters. Photo: Tim de Waele | Getty Images
Tuesday’s stage 10 had already seen a number of riders cutting it very close to the day’s time limit. Cavendish and Kittel crossed the finish in Le Grand-Bornand among an 11-rider group just 30 seconds before the time cut. With that in mind, stage 11 was always going to be a major challenge. The parcours featured a pair of hors categorie ascents and closed with a category 1 summit finish at La Rosière. Dimension Data knew that making the time cut would be a tall order.
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Despite divorce, Sagan keeps entertaining at TourIt is business as usual at the Tour de France for Peter Sagan. But behind the scenes, he is getting a divorce.
“Everbody expected this. It was this stage and the 65-kilometer stage that was challenging,” Ryder said. “It was definitely a concern.”
Cavendish was suffering early in stage 11, gapped and bringing up the back of the race by the summit of the first categorized climb, 26 kilometers into the day. He initially had Renshaw and Jay Thompson to help but waved them on ahead as his situation worsened. That allowed Thompson to make the cut, although it wasn’t enough to save Renshaw.
“He’s a champion. He doesn’t just give up. But he started to realize that we weren’t going to make it too, so that’s why he told us to go and he’d try for himself,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, we did what we could but it isn’t what it is. The Tour de France isn’t easy.”
Kittel spent the day a bit farther up the road than Cavendish but still marched up the final climb well behind any of the larger groups that might have provided wheels to sit on. His lieutenant Rick Zabel was up the road fighting to stay in the race himself. As it became clear that the clock was ticking down, Zabel made a dash for the line. He technically rolled home mere seconds outside the limit, but the race jury granted him clemency, noting in the jury report that he had suffered a mechanical while far removed from any support vehicles.
Kittel, however, was too far back to save his Tour, and it would be the same story for Renshaw and Cavendish. All three did finish the stage to applauding fans, but that would be their only consolation for the day’s hard work. Cavendish headed to the team bus without speaking to media.The climbers finished, and then many minutes later, Cavendish and Kittel came home. Photo: Tim de Waele | Getty Images
Cavendish’s Tour exit is just the latest in a series of disappointments for Dimension Data going back to last year. Cavendish abandoned the 2017 Tour after getting tangled up with Peter Sagan in stage 4 and breaking his scapula. He fell on the same shoulder blade at the Abu Dhabi Tour this January and abandoned that race. In his return to racing at Tirreno-Adriatico, he crashed in the opening team time trial and broke a rib. He still managed to make the start shortly thereafter at Milano-Sanremo, but crashed again and broke another rib.
Dimension Data had hoped that Cavendish could ride his way into form at the Tour de France, but they’ll need to look elsewhere for results now.
“It wasn’t what we expected at the start and we were hoping that if we could get Cav through the mountains, we’d have another chance to win on Friday and that he’d get better,” Ryder said. “But I guess it wasn’t to be.”Fred Dreier and Andrew Hood contributed to this report from La Rosière, France.
Read the full article at A sprinter’s nightmare: Cavendish and Kittel out of Tour on VeloNews.com.

It is business as usual at the Tour de France for Peter Sagan. He has won two stages by the race’s halfway mark. He is wearing the sprinter’s green jersey and going off the front on raids to snatch more points in that competition. And as he does in every race, big or small, he’s been goofing around and having fun.
However behind the scenes, he is getting a divorce, and he made the news public with a post on his Facebook page Tuesday after stage 11.
“After a long and thoughtful discussion, Kate and I have come to the conclusion that we would be much better if we separated as a couple,” he wrote. “We feel we should continue our lives as good friends and we both agree it is the right decision.”
The Sagans have been married for less than three years. They had a son, Marlon in late October.
Most sports scientists would agree that external stresses, like relationship problems or work stress, can diminish performance. On cycling’s biggest stage, the Tour de France, you’d think this might affect Sagan’s racing. It hasn’t yet. In addition to his two wins, he’s been on the podium four other times and wore the yellow jersey for one day.
And, as always, he’s keeping things fun and light in the bunch, whether he is creeping up the side of the peloton in an aero-tuck:
… Or doing his best Superman impersonation:
He even gave his friend Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) an unexpected high-five when the Italian was simply calling his team car up from the caravan:

Good old times revive between @vincenzonibali and @petosagan at #TdF2018 #Stage_8 #SupportSagan #PeterSagan #PedalForGreen pic.twitter.com/M9EwXwTtP6
— Peter SagFan (@Peter_SagFan) July 16, 2018
Here is Peter Sagan’s full statement from his Facebook page:After a long and thoughtful discussion, Kate and I have come to the conclusion that we would be much better if we separated as a couple. We feel we should continue our lives as good friends and we both agree it is the right decision.We fell in love, went through a fantastic journey together and were blessed with a beautiful and lovely son, Marlon. Kate has been an important part of my life, supported me all these years in my professional career and is a great mother. We don’t have any hard feelings for each other, we will just go our separate ways, with mutual respect.Our main focus will now be Marlon. We will do our absolute best to provide a caring environment for his upbringing and be the dedicated and loving parents he needs.I will not comment any further and I would like to thank everybody in advance for respecting our privacy.
Read the full article at Despite divorce, Sagan keeps entertaining at Tour on VeloNews.com.

The Tour de France is devolving into a two-man race — Sky versus Sky if you will. Geraint Thomas now leads the overall with his teammate and presumptive leader Chris Froome 1:25 behind after a display of dominance in stage 11’s uphill finish. There seems to be a little confusion. Froome says they’ll defend yellow. Thomas says he’s racing for Froome. So who is the leader? We’ll get this sorted out on today’s roundtable and discuss how rivals on teams other than Sky can shake up the race.First, the million dollar question: Who is Team Sky’s leader and why?Chris Case @chrisjustincase: Chris Froome. Given his track record, as well as Geraint’s lack of leadership experience, it will be no surprise when Froome chips away at his teammate’s lead in the mountains, and puts the nail in the coffin in the final TT. Plus, Froome is the chosen one, and he needs to win so Team Sky can rub in all our noses the fact that Froome was cleared of any wrongdoing at the Vuelta.Dane Cash @danecash: Froome-ish. I don’t expect Sky to burn too many resources if Thomas has a bad day at any point in the coming mountain stages, but at the same time, it’s not like he’s going to intentionally lose time to put Froome in yellow. Froome will be “protected” because of his track record. Thomas’s strong GC position at least earns him the right to keep plugging away in pursuit of the win though.Spencer Powlison @spino_powerlegs: Thomas. Yes, it’s unknown how he will handle a full grand tour as an outright leader, but it is also unknown how Froome will perform after winning the Giro d’Italia. Can he achieve this feat for the first time since the EPO era? Seems like a stretch. Geraint’s in yellow and it suits him.Marc Soler did a huge turn to help Valverde extend his lead. Photo: Tim de Waele | Getty ImagesEvaluate Movistar’s tactics in stage 11 — poorly executed or poorly conceived?Chris: Neither. I think it was a reasonable tactic to send Valverde up the road. Problem is, they came up against an incredibly strong Sky team. When a team has six guys riding at the front of the group, and one after the other rides tempo until he detonates, how do you beat that? Especially when Nairo then proceeds to bungle a response to Dan Martin’s move which took Froome with him.Dane: Poorly executed. It would have been a nice attempt by Valverde if Landa or Quintana had been able to capitalize. Sky was pretty short on riders for the final few kilometers, but Froome and Thomas were clearly way stronger than the Movistar duo.Spencer: Poorly conceived because of that long gradual descent off the penultimate climb of the Cormet de Roseland and the fact that the finish climb up to La Rosière was gradual enough to encourage groups to work together. I honestly don’t think any team — even Sky! — could pull off this ambush. The terrain just didn’t allow for it. Should have saved those matches for Alpe d’Huez, hombres!Why do you think Nibali chipped in to help Team Sky chase Alejandro Valverde?Chris: Racing for third?Dane: Valverde did have a decent gap there for a little while, so it’s hard to blame Nibali for wanting to chip in just in case of the disaster scenario (for everyone not on Movistar, that is) where Valverde surprises everyone and snatches the race lead. That said, Nibali probably was hoping to protect at least a podium spot too.Spencer: Wow, this one truly baffled me. Perhaps he’s already racing for the podium, not for the win. … No, it can’t be! Nibali would never do that. I think it was a matter of principle. He was too proud to sit back and let Sky do everything. Sorry Franco Pelizotti, that means you’ve gotta take a pull!A chase group of five formed after Froome escaped late in stage 11. Photo: Chris Graythen | Getty ImagesSky put six men on the front for today’s final climb. What can their challengers do on Alpe d’Huez to break the stranglehold?Chris: 1.) Get a good night’s sleep; 2.) Taunt them in the coffee line; 3.) Pray; 4.) Throw tacks in front of their wheels; 5.) When all else fails, attack, attack, attack!Dane: I still see Movistar’s approach as a viable strategy. Sky’s six riders were down to two by the final kilometers. Unfortunately, those two guys were the strongest riders in the race in stage 11. For all the hoopla that is made about Sky’s domestiques being too strong, the team’s biggest asset is how much better Froome (and apparently Thomas at the moment) are than their rivals. It’s not like Froome and Thomas aren’t suffering just as much when Sky sets that high tempo. They’ve proven strong enough to benefit from it so far, but they’re not immune to bad days.Spencer: Boy what a pickle. Sky’s riders asserted themselves so much on Wednesday that even if a rider is willing to attack them on the Alpe, I doubt another would have the courage to make a counterattack. I think their best strategy is to avoid losing any time in stage 12 and hope to regroup and go on the offensive in the Pyrenees.
Read the full article at Tour roundtable: Who is actually Team Sky’s leader? on VeloNews.com.

After a few minutes of looking like he was cooked, Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) was quickly back in the GC conversation at this year’s Tour de France with his second Alpine attack in two days.
He may be over three minutes behind race leader Geraint Thomas, but Martin’s not afraid to take the fight to Team Sky.
With six kilometers left to race in stage 11 of the Tour de France, the 31-year-old Irishman looked to be in trouble, lagging behind a group of GC rivals that included Chris Froome (Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar). With four kilometers to go, Martin clawed his way back to the favorites and immediately shot off the front, bringing Froome with him.
“I just had a bad moment at the wrong time. But I had it under control and I knew where the top was. I kind of had a feeling the group would stop as soon as it got to the flat section,” Martin said. “With that little bit of gap from behind at first, I thought why not have a try?”
The Martin-Froome pairing collaborated well in pursuit of Thomas (Sky) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) up the road. Their combined efforts put significant time into those behind, as the chasers opted to zig-zag across the road marking each other, rather than working together to close down the dangerous move.
Inside the final two kilometers, Froome dropped Martin and bridged to Dumoulin. Thomas surged ahead to take the stage victory with Dumoulin and Froome crossing the line behind.
Martin rolled in sixth on the day, 27 seconds down on Thomas and just seven behind Froome. That put him 32 seconds ahead of a group containing GC rivals Quintana, Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), with other overall hopefuls even farther back. He may have shipped some time to the Sky duo and 2016 Giro d’Italia champion, but his late-stage aggression propelled him into the top 10 in the overall standings.Chris Froome and Dan Martin before the start of Tour stage 10. Photo: Chris Graythen | Getty Images
“I was very happy that Chris came with me and decided to ride. Maybe he does kind of owe me one — over the years I’ve definitely helped him a bit inadvertently,” Martin joked. “He was definitely hurting me the last 3k but I knew the more I was hurting, the more time I’d be getting on the guys behind.”
After Tuesday’s stage, Martin suggested that Team Sky’s firepower was scaring the rest of the GC hopefuls off from putting in attacks. On Wednesday, however, he declined to express frustration with either Sky’s collective strength or the rest of the GC hopefuls’ tactics.
“The speed is so high that everyone is on the limit. Even Chris [Froome] and Geraint [Thomas] are on the limit, you can see that,” he said. “It’s an incredibly hard day, especially the heat.”
Even on a day that saw Thomas take yellow and Froome snatch time on nearly every other rival, Martin saw reasons to be optimistic about the possibility of overhauling the Sky train in the stages to come.
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Thomas in Tour lead, but loyal to FroomeGeraint Thomas says that he not just towing some PR line from Team Sky. Chris Froome remains his leader in the Tour.
“Everybody had a go today. It was a really open race. Movistar really tried to break it up and then Tom obviously had a go as well,” he said. “[Sky] aren’t unbeatable. They’re obviously incredibly strong at the moment. Everybody has a bad day sometimes.”
Martin’s strong ride will have him confident in his own chances in the mountain stages on the horizon at the Tour. He has proved on multiple occasions already in this Tour — most notably by winning stage 6 to Mûr-de-Bretagne — that he is on terrific form. His back-to-back high-mountain raids are confirmation that he has recovered quickly from what looked like a nasty fall in stage 8, and they have propelled him to 10th place overall in the general classification. With more climber-friendly days looming, Martin is trending way up.
Nonetheless, he downplayed his overall chances after Wednesday’s stage, returning to the familiar “day-by-day” mantra he has always had when racing for the general classification in a grand tour.
“After the crash, I’m not really thinking about time or GC,” he said. “I’m just doing my best every day and we’ll see the results at the end.”Andrew Hood contributed to this report from La Rosière, France.
Read the full article at Martin: Sky is not unbeatable on VeloNews.com.

LA ROSIÈRE, France (VN) — Geraint Thomas, stage 11 winner and the Tour de France‘s new race leader, says that he not just toeing some PR line from Team Sky — Chris Froome remains his leader in the 2018 Tour.
The Welshman powered away from the favorites group Wednesday and gained time on everyone, including teammate and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
Even with the yellow jersey, and a lead of 1:25 over Froome in second place, he will give his attention to Froome.
“It’s just how it is,” Thomas said when asked about saying Froome remains the leader.
“I feel some guys might sit here and give some PR bullshit but I just say how it is with me and that’s how it is. Froomey is the leader.
“For sure I’m not going to sit up and lose time, but I think we’re in a great position. It’s just a bit of an unknown for me to race over three weeks. It’s the ideal scenario at the moment and long may it continue.”
Thomas won the Critérium du Dauphiné heading into the Tour while Froome recovered from winning the Giro d’Italia. Froome won the season’s first grand tour ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), who now sits third overall at 1:44 in the Tour.Thomas was well-protected by his Sky team in the stage 11 finale. Photo: Chris Graythen | Getty Images
However, something has always gone wrong in Thomas’s past bids in grand tours. Last year, he led the Tour for four days, but while sitting second overall he crashed in stage 9 and abandoned. Earlier that year, he crashed out of the Giro d’Italia when he was riding as Sky’s GC leader.
He is untested as a leader deep into a grand tour. As week two rolls into week three, he could fade. Froome, however, already has a proven record with six grand tour wins. Given this, Thomas would work for Froome if needed.
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“It depends on the situation and what’s going on in the race. How the team want to ride,” Thomas added.
“If I have to pull towards the end then I will. We’ll see.”
Thomas’s best place in a grand tour is 15th in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Tour. At the 2017 Tour, he won the Düsseldorf opening time trial on stage 1 and held the yellow jersey for four days. However, the stage 9 incident saw him go home with a broken collarbone.
“For me, it’s an unknown, it’s more just trying to get through the stage, stay in the position we were in at least and not lose time on GC,” Thomas said.
“Froomey knows how to win a three-week race, he’s still the leader. For me now, whatever happens, it’s been a successful Tour, it’s been an amazing feeling to win the stage and take the jersey, I’m super happy with that.
“Obviously I’d love to stay up on the podium as long as possible but the main thing is winning and Froomey is our best chance. There’s still half the race to go.”
Read the full article at Thomas in Tour lead, but loyal to Froome on VeloNews.com.

LA ROSIÈRE, France (VN) — Movistar’s daring tactic to try to derail Team Sky’s train backfired Wednesday in the first summit finale of the 2018 Tour de France.
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What started so promising with a bold attack by Alejandro Valverde midway through the stage ended bitterly for the Spanish outfit that marched confidently into the Tour with three GC leaders.
When the dust settled at the La Rosière summit, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa both lost time to archrivals on Sky. Valverde sank out of the top-10 after starting the stage dreaming of yellow.
“We had to try to open the race, and what Valverde did caused a lot of pain in the race,” said Mikel Landa. “Now we have to look at the differences, rest a little and see how things are in the morning.”
“We wanted to ‘play’ today,” said Nairo Quintana, “but to tell the truth, we didn’t feel like we wanted to.”
Movistar was reeling at the line. Quintana was dropped first by stage-winner Geraint Thomas (Sky), who also grabbed the yellow jersey, and then by archrival Chris Froome. Quintana crossed the line with fellow podium contenders Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at 59 seconds back.
Landa said he felt the effects of crashing two stages in a row and crossed the line 13th at 1:47 back. Landa slotted in at seventh overall at 2:56 back and Quintana ninth at 3:16 back.
“It was hard for me all day,” Landa said. “I back started hurting on the first climb and I couldn’t follow the rhythm on the final climb. We’ll see with our doctors how we are, and consider what our next steps will be.”
On a day Movistar was hoping to challenge Sky, the British outfit smashed its Spanish rival.Marc Soler did a huge turn to help Valverde extend his lead. Photo: Tim de Waele | Getty Images
Perhaps feeling confident in his position on GC at the start of the stage with a shot at the yellow jersey, Valverde made a surprise move with 54km to go on the Col du Pré. Movistar had Marc Soler waiting up the road and the pair quickly did some damage, momentarily putting Valverde into the “virtual” yellow jersey.
Sky didn’t panic and found some help from Bahrain-Merida when Franco Pelizzoti and Nibali helped tow the GC bunch over the Cormet de Roseland with 38.5km to go.
Sky put five riders on the front of the bunch to set a brutal pace and started to pull back Valverde. Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) also jumped clear and linked up with Valverde, but the veteran Spaniard ran out of gas. Dumoulin dropped him on the final climb and he couldn’t stay even after the hard effort when the GC group roared past.Valverde couldn’t hang with Tom Dumoulin on the final climb. Photo: Tim de Waele | Getty Images
Valverde didn’t speak to journalists waiting at the finish line, but he was visibly disappointed. Taking the day’s most combative prize was little consolation on a day that went upside down.
Instead of having three GC options threating Sky, Movistar is on the back foot. Quintana will have a fight on his hands even to get within podium range.
“It was a very hard tempo all day long,” Quintana said. “We lost some seconds that I hope are not too much to be able to keep fighting for the race.”
Movistar has been notoriously conservative with Quintana in previous Tours, often holding him back until the final stages before letting him try to attack Froome.
Perhaps that tactic will be a wiser one following Wednesday’s misfire on the road to La Rosière.
Movistar will try to regroup and take the fight to Sky. Now they don’t have a choice.
“Tomorrow we have the very hard Alpe d’Huez in what’s a tremendous stage,” Landa said. “We’ll have to try again and make it a hard stage.”
Read the full article at Movistar’s ambush plan backfires in the Alps on VeloNews.com.

Eleven stages into the Tour de France and Team Sky has what it came for. But there is a twist. The coveted yellow jersey is upon superdomestique Geraint Thomas’s shoulders, not that of four-time defending champion Chris Froome.
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On the summit finish of La Rosière, after Thomas won stage 11 solo, taking yellow and more time in the overall, Froome was curt and firm in his support for his loyal lieutenant Thomas.
What is Team Sky’s strategy now, with Alpe d’Huez looming Thursday? “Defend,” was Froome’s reply.Pundits have pondered this potential intra-team rivalry since Froome lost time in a crash on stage 1 of the Tour. Before the race, Sky positioned Thomas as its second option on GC, a familiar role for the Welshman.
After a flurry of action on the first flat stage to Fontenay-le-Comte, Froome was 51 seconds behind Thomas.Team Sky finished second in the stage 3 team time trial, creeping closer to yellow.Froome lost a few more seconds on stage 6’s uphill finish at Mur de Bretagne with Thomas comfortably in the front group.
After one final day of heroics Tuesday, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) surrendered the maillot jaune he had worn since his BMC team won stage 3. Everything was in play on Wednesday’s short stage, and Thomas’s winning move came spontaneously.
“I think it was a bit of a spur of the moment thing for us but it made sense, it was perfect, we didn’t even have to talk,” Froome said. “It was the right thing for G [Thomas] to do. To push on there. I let the wheel go because I knew the onus would be on the rest of the guys to chase.”
“There’s no egos in the team. Everyone communicates really well,” Thomas added.
Sky’s team director Nicholas Portal echoed Froome’s perspective, saying there was no specific plan to put Thomas in yellow.
“The guys worked it out together talking … and the information [on the road], we got it 30-40 seconds after they sorted themselves,” Portal said. “They know the plans and we plan in the morning, so they can work it out themselves when the opportunity arrives.”Team Sky massed at the front for stage 11’s finish climb. Photo: Tim de Waele | Getty Images
Froome’s work wasn’t done yet, however, when Thomas rode clear inside the final 10 kilometers of steady climbing to the finish. He saw Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) as the key threat and bridged up to the world time trial champ.
“Dumoulin is right up there on the GC now, we couldn’t give him too much room and obviously he is someone who can TT at the end of the Tour as well so we are going to have to keep a close eye on him,” Froome added.
He tried to drop Dumoulin in the final kilometer, but the Dutchman clawed him back with the finish in sight and pipped Froome for second behind Martin.Tom Dumoulin narrowly out-sprinted Froome for second place. Photo: Justin Setterfield | Getty Images
Though he’s now 1:25 behind yellow and got out-sprinted at the line, Froome was unperturbed.
“Absolutely fantastic, he’s in the form of his life and fully deserves it,” he said of Thomas’s victory.
After the display of force in stage 11 and with riders sitting in first and second overall, Team Sky finds itself in an enviable position, despite questions as to who is the true team leader.
“It’s an amazing position for us,” Froome added. “I don’t think we quite expected that going into today’s stage.”
For Froome and Sky, pointed questions from media or criticism from former rider Bradley Wiggins seem a lot like attacks in the day-to-day racing at the Tour — mere annoyances.Fred Dreier contributed to this report from La Rosière, France.
Read the full article at Froome says team will defend yellow for Thomas on VeloNews.com.

The four chasers swept around a right-hand switchback, side by side as the pace ebbed in the final five kilometers of Tour de France stage 11. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) saw the opportunity and pounced.Romain Bardet, on the other hand, did not. And he is rueing more time lost in the overall.
“I’m disappointed because I made a big mistake in not being more attentive when Martin attacked,” Bardet said.
Ag2r La Mondiale’s French hopeful should have known better too. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Martin were rejoining the group that contained Bardet, Chris Froome (Sky), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Bardet looked behind. He could see Martin coming.
When the Irishman attacked, only Froome followed.Bardet was stuck behind the action with a chase group of four others. Photo: Chris Graythen | Getty Images
It appeared that Bardet could have gone with Froome as well. When Martin streaked past, Bardet was perfectly positioned on Froome’s wheel. The defending Tour champ followed. Bardet did not.
“I was surprised I was the only one who was on his wheel,” Froome said about his move to follow Martin. “But yeah, Dan has ridden really well. I think he’s trying to make the time back from when he crashed.”
Bardet even said after the race that he felt good in Wednesday’s 108.5km day through the Alps.
“I think that I had good legs, but I attacked at the wrong time,” he said. “I did not have a very good strategy. It’s too bad when these opportunities go by.”
Comfortable enough to zip up his jersey right after Martin and Froome went clear, it certainly looked like Bardet would have been able to respond, if he’d taken the initiative.
Instead, the British duo rode up the road. Froome was in the catbird seat because his Sky teammate Geraint Thomas was ahead after an early attack, riding with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb). Thomas would eventually win the day and take yellow.
In the end, Bardet lost 59 seconds to Thomas, 32 seconds to Martin, and 20 seconds to Froome.
“Geraint Thomas was the strongest. They played the team tactics perfectly with Chris Froome,” he added. “I’m disappointed because these are seconds that I am losing, but the sensations are improving.”
On Thursday, Bardet will have one final chance in the Alps to make the right moves and gain back time in the overall. Going into stage 12‘s uphill finish at Alpe d’Huez, which comes at the end of a 175.5km stage, he’s 2:58 behind Martin in eighth. Froome is second, 1:25 behind.
The Frenchman, who was third overall in the last Tour and second overall in 2016, promised to go on the attack.
“Tomorrow we have a big stage,” he added. “I will be battling again.”Agence France-Presse and VeloNews staff contributed to this report.
Read the full article at Bardet: I made a big mistake in stage 11 on VeloNews.com.