- It is amazing, absolutely incredible! I can’t believe it! For me it was a dream to win a stage at the Tour de France. And now this dream came true. Last year I won a stage at the Giro and now I repeat my success at the Tour. Already yesterday I felt quite good and today I was motivated to go in a breakaway, to try to fight for the stage. I knew it would be difficult, especially because the group was really big.
On the final climb, there was some head wind, but I found a moment for an attack and just did my best to catch Stuyven to lead the race, and to hold my advantage until the finish line. This victory is so important for me, but also for my family and my friends. We were wearing black ribbons today to honor Denis Ten. It’s a very sad story for the whole world of sport, that’s why I dedicate this victory to all the people of Kazakhstan, – said a very happy Omar Fraile after the finish.
In the 188-kilometer-long stage from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Mende, it was up to the breakaway. A group of 32 riders took off, gaining an advantage of almost 10 minutes on the peloton. Before the final climb, Jasper Stuyven attacked. With almost 2 minutes advantage he started his climb on the Cote de la Croix Neuve. Omar Fraile attacked just after the breakaway group started on the final challenge of the day, and he was able to catch Stuyven just before the top. From there, he sprinted to his stage victory at the airport of Mende, just in front of Julian Alaphilippe and Jasper Stuyven.
Behind the breakaway, there was an interesting fight for the general classification going on, with Jakob Fuglsang finishing in one of the first groups. He moved from the tenth to a ninth place in the GC.
- I cannot complain, as I rode the final climb the best I could. I felt good but it was not enough yet to follow the first guys. But again, I climbed one place in the GC, so I take it step by step. The climbs that suit me better are still ahead, as today’s final climb was one that’s not my specialty. Most important thing is that it was a good day for the team, this victory gives us moral for the remaining part of the Tour de France. - said Jakob Fuglsang
Tomorrow the riders will face a stage of 181.5 kilometers, from Millau to Carcasonne. A stage with three climbs, of which Pic de Nore (1st cat.) will be the final one before the riders hit the descent towards the finish in Carcasonne.
Photo credit: Bettiniphoto