The morning breakaway made it all the way on stage 18 as Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal) took the win. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Igor Antón proved to be feeling better again after suffering from sickness earlier this week.
Knowing that today’s stage would be a good day for a strong break to succeed, multiple riders tried to get away right from the beginning of the stage. Despite a very undulating terrain, the peloton covered 46 km within the first hour of racing. The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders attacked several times but with only three riders left to fight, it was a tall order to make the winning break.
After nearly 60 km, 20 riders managed to distance the peloton, which quickly let the front group get a gap of over 10 minutes. From that moment on, it was always going to be a fight between the riders at the front for the stage win.
The teams of the GC riders started to up the pace on the final climbs, thinning of the peloton significantly. On a good note of the day, Antón proved to be feeling much better after suffering from sickness during the week. The Basque climber stayed with the overall favorites for a long time, ultimately taking 58th place on the stage.
Chris Froome put in small attack on the final climb towards the finish, making sure to keep his red leader’s jersey as Armée soloed to victory at the front. Tomorrow awaits another undulating stage with several categorized climbs. The top of the last ascent comes only 15 km from the finishing line in Gijon.
“After suffering from intestinal problems for the last six days, I finally started to feel better today. Tomorrow, I will concentrate fully on recovering in order to go all-in on Angliru on Saturday. I have fought hard these days, never throwing in the towel. I’m happy I have survived my sickness and that I’m still in the race to continue fighting”.