Greg Van Avermaet of Team BMC finally got his stage win. The Belgian rider was looking to win some of the uphill finishes in the first week but was unable to position himself well. This time, he finally took stage glory as he pipped Peter Sagan to the stage win, his first at the Tour de France. There was however, no change in the Overall classification as the favourites all finished in the same group.
Stage 13 was classified by the organizers as a medium mountain stage. The 198.5 km stage started in Muret and finished in Rodez. The intermediate sprint took place 92.5 km into the stage. The third of the stage saw a single Category-3 and two Category-2 climbs. However, the final climb of the day was not categorized but was a 1 km ascent to the finish following a quick downhill descent in the previous 3 km. This would end up splitting the main body.
At the start of the stage, Alexandre Geniez , Thomas De Gendt, Cyril Gautier and Wilco Kelderman were the first breakaway riders, right from the word go. Two riders joined them at the 5 km mark, but they were unable to open a large lead. Giant-Alpecian began to pace through the main group to prevent the lead from going out of hands. During the intermediate sprint of the main group Andre Greipel won and became the virtual leader in the points.
Later on, the leaders managed to extend their lead to 4’45”. After 110 km, Alpecin were done pacing and then Contador’s Saxo-Tinkoff took over. They slowly withered down the lead when the hills started, 70 km from the finish. MTH-Qhubeka and Orica GreenEDGE also contributed in the pace making. At around 61 km to the finish, crosswinds blew that split the Peloton and saw last year’s runner up, Jean Christophe Péraud crash hard. He was already out of contention but after a 15km struggle he managed to catch up, despite a nasty knock.
In the final 14km, the lead was gradually reducing. Of the 6 leading riders only Kelderman, Gautier and De Gendt remained. They kept working but unfortunately, they were caught in the final few hundred meters, which was cruel for all their hard work.
Sagan and Van Avermaet were the first to pass them and they went neck and neck. However, it was the Belgian who won the battle to win. Sagan’s winless run in the Tour continues but he can be glad to have secured his hold in the Green Jersey standings.
The General Classification Top 20
The Points Classification Top 20
Tomorrow is a shorter, medium-mountain course. But the last third of the course consists of three Category-2 climbs. Expect no sprinter to make a dash to the finish, but maybe the General Classification could see some changes.