In one of the most iconic portions of the 2013 Tour de France, it was French star Christophe Riblon who stole the victory on Stage 18 with a time of four hours, 51 minutes and 32 seconds by dominating the 172.5-kilometer (107-mile) race.
BREAKING: Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale) wins atop Alpe d'Huez to give France their first stage win in this year's Tour de France.— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) July 18, 2013
After finishing seventh with a time of 4:54:50, general classification leader and yellow jersey holder Chris Froome continues to hold his position at the top of the standings.
Britain's Chris Froome extends his overall Tour de France lead after Stage 18 which is won by Frenchman Christophe Riblon #BBCTdF— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 18, 2013
Froome was penalized after the stage for a rules infraction that saw another rider retrieve nourishments for the overall leader. Sky Sports has more:
Chris Froome given 20-second penalty for breaking Tour rules - more on #SSN now— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 18, 2013
Riblon had an impressive ride that featured two trips up the Alpe d'Huez and took the late lead to win the stage. Despite leading for much of the final ascent, American Tejay van Garderen was forced to settle for second place, 59 seconds behind the stage winner with a time of 4:52:31.
Italian Moreno Moser managed a third-place finish with a time of 4:52:59, and Nairo Quintana managed a great run and ended the event with a respectable time of 4:53:44.
Joaquim Rodríguez raced to a fifth-place finish with a time of 4:53:47.
Stage 18 was a daunting test of the cyclists' climbing abilities, and with a great mix of ascending and descending, even the most casual fan was treated to great visuals along the beautiful course.
Despite the tremendous effort by the stars of the sport on this stage, the cyclists will be back in action Friday for the next mountain portion of the race.
While Thursday was a serious test for the riders, Stage 19 travels from Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Le Grand-Bornand in an exciting 204.5-kilometer (127-mile) trip through the visually beautiful mountains of the Alps.
The cyclists are in the homestretch of the Tour de France now and will face two more mountain stages in a row. Then it will be the final portion of the race that travels from Versailles to Paris on Sunday.
With a lead on the general classification, Froome looks destined to take the 2013 Tour de France victory.
Stage 18 Standings (courtesy of NBC Sports)
|2||Tejay VAN GARDEREN||04:52:31||00:00:59||BMC|
|4||Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS||04:53:44||00:02:12||MOV|
|5||Joaquim RODRIGUEZ OLIVER||04:53:47||00:02:15||KAT|
|9||Mikel NIEVE ITURRALDE||04:55:47||00:04:15||EUS|
Overall Standings (courtesy of NBC Sports)
|3||Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS||71:07:51||00:05:32||MOV||23|
|5||Joaquim RODRIGUEZ OLIVER||71:08:17||00:05:58||KAT||34|
|10||Laurens TEN DAM||71:16:58||00:14:39||BEL||32|
Full results and standings at NBC Sports.