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Tour de France Stage 18: Arnaud Demare wins, Geraint Thomas retains overall lead

Frenchman had point to prove after being accused of accepting a tow in yesterday's mountain stage...

Arnaud Demare of Groupama-FDJ has won Stage 18 of the Tour de France, edging out Cofidis rider Christophe Laporte in a sprint finish in Pau.  Geraint Thomas retains the overall lead by 1 minute 59 seconds from Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin.

With many big-name sprinters having left the race over the past fortnight, there was an unfamiliar feel to the stage which had always looked set to end in a bunch finish.

The absence of Fernando Gaviria and Andre Greipel meant that rather than Quick Step Floors or Lotto-Soudal to try and control the race as they would normally do on a sprint stage.

Instead, it was Demare’s Groupama-FDJ team that  set the pace in the peloton, meaning that the day’s break was not giving as much leeway as might usually be the case.

The breakaway group, comprising the Mitchelton-Scott pair of Luke Durbridge and Matt Hayman, Niki Terpstra of Quick Step Floors, Thomas Boudat of Direct Energie and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck Wanty-Groupe Gobert, was brought back on a Category 4 climb with 18 kilometres remaining.

In the closing kilometres, the Bora Hangsrohe team of points classification leader Peter Sagan came to the fore, and Katusha were also active, looking to set up Alexander Kristoff, who would finish third today.

It was the French pair of Demare – who had a point to prove after being accused on Twitter by Greipel of taking an illegal tow during yesterday’s stage  – and Laporte who would battle it out for the stage win.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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RobD | 5 years ago

Hearing the interview with Sagan at the end of the stage it sounds like he was in a pretty bad way after his crash, I hope he's not avoiding getting treatment because he's so close to Paris and doesn't want to abandon the green jersey.

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