Tour de France stage 18 report: Asgreen wins from the break as the sprinters are denied

The breakaway stays clear.

Kasper Asgreen wins stage 18 of the Tour de France. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2023

Dane Cash
by Dane Cash 20.07.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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On a flat stage 18 of the Tour de France that seemed destined for a bunch kick, a determined breakaway managed to foil the sprinters, and Kasper Asgreen (Soudal Quick-Step) stormed to his first career Tour stage victory.

The 28-year-old Dane hit the line just ahead of breakaway mates Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto-Dstny) and Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X) with Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) arriving on the same time in fourth. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) finished safely in the peloton to retain his yellow jersey.

Brief results

  1. Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep) 4:06:48
  2. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto Dstny)
  3. Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X)
  4. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
  5. Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) all at same time

General classification

  1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 67:57:51
  2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) @ 7:35
  3. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) @ 10:45
  4. Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) @ 12:01
  5. Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) @ 12:19
The breakaway on stage 18 of the Tour de France. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2023

Brief analysis

What’s next: stage 19

There’s another breakaway vs. sprinters stage on tap for Friday with a 172.8 km ride from Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny. The course is quite a bit lumpier than today, but there are only two categorized climbs. The final 40 km are anything but straightforward, however: the Category 3 Côte d’Ivory (2.3 km at 5.9%) comes less than 30 km from the finish, and then the final 20 km are flat, with a nearly 10 km stretch to the finish that goes in a dead-straight line, with barely even a roundabout to disrupt things. That final climb could interrupt the break’s rhythm and see opportunistic attackers go clear, while the exposed run to the finish could advantage the chasing pack if there are cross- or headwinds. Much of that chase depends on which riders are in contact after that final climb, of course.

Quote of the day

Kasper Asgreen acknowledged just how well things went for a small breakaway group in the end on a day that seemed destined for the sprinters. He was also gracious in his gratitude to his fellow escapees after taking his first Grand Tour stage win.

“Obviously the situation was not ideal. I would have preferred to have gone with maybe six or seven or eight. It’s also the last week of the Tour and we’re coming off some really hard weeks and we’ve seen it before that even a small group can manage to cheat the sprinters’ teams. I didn’t rule it out,” he said.

“I really couldn’t have done it without Pascal, Victor, and Jonas. They all did amazing out there. To be honest we all deserved to win with the work we put in but I’m really happy to come away with it.”

Further reading

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