Stage 14: Blagnac to Rodez (181.5k)

Disclaimer: I slept at 12:30 last night after watching Bastille Day fireworks (they were SO incredible) and woke up at 3:45 AM today, walked around in Paris, took the train from Paris to Lyon, edited photos on the train, walked around in Lyon and then took the bus to Geneva, walked around there and then came back home to Lausanne. I ended up eating a coffee ice cream and then drinking coffee, just to stay awake. But I love doing this blog and I love the Tour, so here I am. Today was apparently supposed to be uneventful. As it turned out, it was anything but. Today was a “Classics” route. A day for an excellent one day rider. Like Michael Matthews (Sunweb), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Philipe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors). The GC was supposed to be unshaken.

Route profile
Not flat, 2 Cat 3 climbs and then the last KM, which had a 9% gradient in the last 500 meters.
Yeah so, as per the race highlights(I watched the last 30k ), it was Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) who attacked right from the gun. Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Maxime Bouet (Fortuneo-Oscaro) formed the 1st breakaway, with the peloton letting them build a nice lead of 1:45. Reto Hollenstein (Katusha) attacked and soon joined the front 4.
The lead remained in a steady state of 2:30-3:00 minutes and soon it was time for the intermediate sprint, which was won by De Gendt.
De Gendt, who won the Mount Ventoux stage last year, when we saw Froomey run, also won the Cat 3 clim, Côte du viaduc du Viaur. It was here, that 5 stage winner in this tour Marcel Kittel (Quickstep Floors) was dropped! Wow. (Well he made in the time cut and wasn’t DQed, so everything is well and good). De Gendt was also the first at Côte de Centrès, taking 2 more points. And when I switched on the TV, I saw this:
De Gendt had gone solo with 32k to go, having a 2 minute lead over the Peloton, dropping everyone else in the breakaway and it seemed for the 1st time in this year’s tour, a breakaway rider is going to take the day’s honours. The Peloton began its hunt of the Belgian, cutting his lead down fast and caught him with 12k to go. With 11k to go there was another attack, Maurits Lammertink (Katusha) went, followed by Damiano Caruso (BMC), Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo). With 9km to go, Team Sky led the pack behind, hammering the pace. Lammertink and Périchon pulled hard but they were all caught with 5k to go. Lammertink was in no mood to give up as he attacked again only to be caught. The Peloton zoomed at 80+ km/h and it was here that Chris Froome(Team Sky) caught Fabio Aru (Astana) unaware. With the tight corners and high speeds, not much movement was possible in the Peloton and Froome placed himself in the front properly separating himself from Aru who held just a 6 second advantage and couldn’t afford a massive slip-up like this. With the last km and climb looming the riders attacked with Edwald Boasson Hagen(Dimension Data) being led up the hill along with Van Avermaet, Matthews and Gilbert. In a bold move, like he was dropped on Stage 13, Froomey followed the attack while Aru was left dumbfounded. At the front, Michael Matthews pipped Van Avermaet like Avaermaet had done to Sagan 2 years ago on the same stage, winning today and taking a well deserved win for all the work he has done throughout the tour.
And Froomey’s strategy was successful today as finished 7th today and gained 24 seconds on Aru and took yellow
So, today’s results:
Jersey wearers after Stage 14:

Oh the Tour’s so heating up! So much drama! Love it. See you all tomorrow! Thanks for reading! #TDF2017


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