Tears of joy; A skinsuit express delivered: Daily News Digest:

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

The final test is done and all that is left is the final ride into Paris to complete the 2018 Tour de France.


Quote of the day:

“The last time I cried is when I got married. I can’t speak, it’s just incredible.”Geraint Thomas (Sky) was emotional after crossing the finish line of the stage 20 time trial and realizing he was going to ride into Paris as the champion of the Tour de France.


Moment of the day: Tears of joy for first and last

On Saturday, in the town of Espelette in the heart of the French Basque Country, two riders cried tears their hearts out. One was the winner and the other was the lanterne rouge. Their Tour experiences were dramatically different, but the emotion was the same — joy.

Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac) finished the Tour de France with a fractured scapula, which occurred on the opening day of the race. Along the way, he raised over $150,000USD for the Texas-based Alkek Velodrome, as he fought through a painful team time trial, the cobblestones of Roubaix, the Alps, and finally the Pyrenees.

“I am completely overjoyed to cross the finish line,” Craddock said. “Today was the final test. I am excited to be in Paris tomorrow.”

For Geraint Thomas (Sky), he becomes the first Welshman to win the Tour de France. With four-time Tour winner Chris Froome in the squad, it was hard to believe when Team Sky said Froome and Thomas were co-leaders at the start of the Tour.

Thomas rode a flawless race to take the victory. He stayed out of trouble during the opening week, one of only a few to do so, and then climbed like he has never climbed before. He was most certainly on the form of his life for this year’s Tour and will ride into Paris as the champion.

“I don’t know what to say. It’s just overwhelming. I didn’t think about winning the Tour de France for the whole race and suddenly… I’ve won the Tour, man,” Thomas said as he began to break down with emotion during the post-stage interview.


Dispatches from the Tour

Dumoulin scorches to victory in Tour de France stage 20 TT, Thomas seals yellow

World champion Tom Dumoulin timing his effort perfectly in the stage 20 time trial to take the third Tour de France stage win of his career. The Team Sunweb rider was behind rivals Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome (both Team Sky) at the intermediate checkpoints, but blitzed the final part of the tough 31 kilometre TT, beating Froome by one second and Thomas by fourteen seconds.

“That is crazy,” he beamed, giving his reaction. “I didn’t know anything about split times, I never know. I still thought Froome was one second ahead of me when I crossed the line here. Everyone said I was second at one second. That’s crazy, wow…

“I had such a hard time yesterday,” he admitted. “I think all the frustration came out after the finish. Today I can’t believe it. This is amazing…one second.”

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) had looked like the rider most in shape and, after he overtook Froome for third overall, many expected him to hold a podium position to Paris. However, he was below par in the time trial, finishing only eighth. He lost one minute and 12 seconds to Dumoulin, and one minute 11 to Froome, slipping to fourth overall.

Click through to read our full report on Dumoulin’s emphatic victory of stage 20.

Express delivery for a rainbow skinsuit

Tom Dumoulin and Team Sunweb woke up Saturday morning to a panic, the world champ’s custom TT skinsuit was missing. The team’s clothing sponsor Etxeondo is based in the Basque Country of Spain, so the team called the company and Etxeondo stitched Dumoulin a new skinsuit before the time trial.

“I was so nervous this morning. We found out that we lost the skinsuit,” Dumoulin explained after winning the stage 19 time trial. “Luckily our clothing sponsor is from the Basque country on the Spanish side and they made a new one this morning, so I could wear it for racing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to ride in the rainbow colours.”

Maybe that will become Dumoulin’s lucky skinsuit, as it is currently undefeated.

Tom Dumoulin nearly had a wear a generic Team Sunweb skinsuit for the time trial, but the team’s clothing sponsor quickly made him a new rainbow one. Photo: Cor Vos

Martin named Tour’s most aggressive rider

Dan Martin’s (UAE Team Emirates) grit and attacking style will see him leave the 2018 Tour with a stage win and the Super Combativity award. ASO announced on Saturday that Martin was voted the most aggressive rider of this year’s Grande Boucle.

“I just try my best every day. Its been memorable, one of the most open Tours for a long time. I am happy for him, (Thomas), we have known each other for a long time,” Martin said.

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) finished the Tour fighting for every second. Photo: Cor Vos

On the stage six finish atop the Mûr-de-Bretagne, the Irishman launched over a kilometre from the line to take his second career stage win and put himself in prime position to make a run at the Tour podium. However, Martin’s run at the overall took a turn for the worst when he crashed heavily in the final kilometres of stage eight and lost over a minute.

Martin fought valiantly through the cobbled stage to Roubaix to finish alongside the other GC contenders, but then his injuries began to take their toll in the Alps. He lost precious time on the summit finish at Alpe d’Huez, but came back fighting in the Pyrenees. He’ll roll into Paris and finish the 2018 Tour in eighth overall.

Tomorrow’s final Tour stage

Start: Houilles Paris, Champs-Élysées
Finish: Paris, Champs-Élysées
Length: 116km

One of the most famous boulevards in the world, the Champs-Élysées, will once again host the finale of the Tour de France. Sprinter’s dream of winning here and with such few fast men left in the race, we could see a rare late attack come out victorious instead of a bunch sprint. After a relaxed procession for the opening hours, the peloton will be full gas once onto the boulevard. The riders will complete eight laps around the Champs-Élysées, which has them circle the Arc de Triomphe and race across the Plaza de la Concorde.


Race Radio

Wild wins Ride London

Kirsten Wild (Wiggle-High5) captured the Women’s WorldTour Prudential RideLondon Classique in a bunch finish on The Mall in the heart of London. A large crash marred the final few hundred metres, but many of the top sprinters made it through the carnage safely. Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) was the first to jump toward the line, however, she was no match for the speed of Wild.

The Wiggle-High5 rider took the victory mere days after the team’s owner, Rochelle Gilmore, announced the team would be folding at the end of the season. Elisa Balsamo (Valcar PBM) rounded out the podium.

Romain Cardis wins stage 1 of Tour de Wallonie

Romain Cardis of Direct Energie proved to be the fastest in the bunch on the opening day of the five-stage Tour de Wallonie.

Moving pictures

Tour de France 2018 stage 20 highlights

Tour stage 20 on-board highlights

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