RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini
John Degenkolb won the Arras-Roubaix ninth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday ahead of Greg Van Avermaet as dozens of falls and multiple withdrawals made for a slapstick spectacle amidst clouds of dust. The win marks a return to form for the German, a former winner of Paris-Roubaix, who was knocked down by a car in Mallorca two years ago.
Van Avermaet kept hold of the overall leader’s yellow jersey on a day when his team captain Richie Porte withdrew after a fall and the main contenders all finished more or less together. The lead trio broke with 15 kilometer to go and quickly agreed to cooperate taking turns at the head of the group to distance the peloton. Degenkolb was always the more likely of the trio to win the stage due to his sprinting skills while the Belgian Van Avermaet was keen to take his yellow jersey into the mountains next week.
The 155 kilometer stage featuring 22 kilometers of rough cobbled sections was expected to
produce drama, and so it proved. Romain Bardet got a third flat tire of the day and lost touch with the
peloton with just 5 kilometers remaining as he exited the final section of cobbles. Chris Froome attacked at that moment and there will be increased bad will on the French roadsides for the British champion, who has been booed by sections of the public on this Tour. Froome later defended the move, replying to a critic on Twitter: “I had no idea @romainbardet had an issue?! We don’t see what you see on TV” Miraculously Bardet made it back to the Froome group shortly before the finish line after a huge effort that saw the French hope gasping for breath.
Questions will be asked about the leadership issue at Sky after Geraint Thomas abandoned Froome when a mechanical failure saw the four-time winner crash late on. Thomas started the day a minute ahead of his nominative captain Froome, who eventually struggled back to the lead pack on his own.
On a mixed day for Spain’s Movistar team Alejandro Valverde gained a little time on his GC rivals, Nairo Quintana finished with the main group and Mikel Landa made a horrible error, falling off when reaching for a water bottle, losing time. Amazingly Dan Martin, who woke up feeling “much, much better” after his crash on Saturday, kept pace as did Tom Dumoulin.
The 155 kilometer stage featuring 22 kilometers of rough cobbled sections was expected to claim victims and the first one had nothing to do with cobbles as Porte fell and looked to have broken his shoulder, leaving the race in tears after 10 kilometers.
Winner in a spectacular style of the past two stages Dutch ace Dylan Groenewegen fell half way just around the course, but was just one of dozens of riders to hit the floor.
Final Stage Results
1. John Degenkolb (GER/TRE) 156.5 km in 3hr 24min 26sec
2. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) at 0.
3. Yves Lampaert (BEL/QST) 0.
4. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/QST) 19.
5. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOR) 19.
6. Jasper Stuyven (BEL/TRE) 19.
7. Bob Jungels (LUX/QST) 19.
8. André Greipel (GER/LOT) 27.
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/DDT) 27.
10. Timothy Dupont (BEL/WGG) 27.
11. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/EAU) 27.
12. Nils Politt (GER/KAT) 27.
13. Fernando Gaviria (COL/QST) 27.
14. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/DEN) 27.
15. Warren Barguil (FRA/FST) 27.
16. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 27.
17. Lilian Calmejane (FRA/DEN) 27.
18. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 27.
19. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) 27.
20. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 27.
21. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 27.
22. Christopher Froome (GBR/SKY) 27.
23. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/BAH) 27.
24. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 27.
25. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/BAH) 27.
26. Primoz Roglic (SLO/LNL) 27.
27. Adam Yates (GBR/MIT) 27.
28. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 27.
29. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 27.
30. Rafal Majka (POL/BOR) 27.
31. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 27.
32. Daniel Martin (IRL/EAU) 27.
33. Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN/SUN) 27.
34. Matthew Hayman (AUS/MIT) 27.
35. Mikel Landa (ESP/MOV) 34.
Final Overall Standings
1. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 36hr 07:17.
2. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) at 43.
3. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/QST) 44.
4. Bob Jungels (LUX/QST) 50.
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:31.
6. Rafal Majka (POL/BOR) 1:32.
7. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 1:33.
8. Christopher Froome (GBR/SKY) 1:42.
9. Adam Yates (GBR/MIT) 1:42.
10. Mikel Landa (ESP/MOV) 1:42.
11. Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN/SUN) 1:43.
12. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/BAH) 1:48.
13. Primoz Roglic (SLO/LNL) 1:57.
14. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 1:58.
15. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) 2:03.
16. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 2:06.
17. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 2:32.
18. Warren Barguil (FRA/FST) 2:37.
19. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 2:42.
20. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/BAH) 2:48.
21. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 2:50.
22. Rigoberto Uran (COL/EFD) 2:53.
23. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOR) 3:08.
24. Daniel Martin (IRL/EAU) 3:22.
25. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EFD) 4:21.
26. Mikel Nieve (ESP/MIT) 4:41.
27. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/DEN) 4:42.
28. Lilian Calmejane (FRA/DEN) 5:01.
29. Serge Pauwels (BEL/DDT) 5:12.
30. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 6:05.