Warren Barguil waited for Bastille Day to claim his first stage victory at the Tour de France, but it was worth the delay. The 25-year-old French climber, who also cemented his lead in the king of the mountains competition, played a canny game alongside breakaway companions Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and Mikel Landa, all more interested in taking back time on race leader Fabio Aru, to save some strength for the sprint finish.
And when that came, Barguil had the burst he needed at the end of the mountainous 101km 13th stage from Saint Girons to Foix in the Pyrenees. It was Barguil’s biggest win since claiming two stages at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana.
“It’s been a very long time going for a win since the Vuelta in 2013, I’ve been close before but didn’t manage it,” he said. “I did it today. It’s exceptional for the French to win on Bastille Day. It’s also been a long time since someone from Brittany has won a stage on the Tour. “I feel like I have dual nationality — French and Breton — so I’m really happy.” It was extra special too for having beaten his “idol” Contador — Il Pistolero, the gunslinger — in the sprint finish.
“It means a lot, he was the person I watched on television at the Tour who made me shiver with his attacks. “I can barely believe I’ve beaten Contador today. A few years ago I used to celebrate like him with the pistol gesture when riding in the second category in Brittany.”
Quintana took second and Contador third to snatch back almost two minutes of time they’d previously lost in a Tour that had been difficult for both.—AFP