• Tour de France, Stage 18

Froome further extends Tour lead despite penalty

ESPN staff
July 18, 2013
Christophe Riblon became the first French winner in the 100th edition of the Tour de France © AP

Chris Froome strengthened his grip on the yellow jersey despite being docked 20 seconds for an illegal feed, as Christophe Riblon won Stage 18 of the Tour de France to claim the host nation's first victory in the 100th edition of the race.

The penalty was given after Froome called for an energy bar when struggling with the closing kilometres of the famous Alpe-d'Huez climb - receiving food towards a stage finish is against the race rules.

For the first time in Tour history, riders climbed the peak twice in order to celebrate the centenary year. It did not disappoint.

Just 24 hours after claiming his third stage win of this year's Tour, Froome finished 57 seconds ahead of main rival Alberto Contador - even after the penalty - in the 172.5km stretch from Gap to Alpe-d'Huez, moving clear of the Saxo-Tinkoff rider on the second climb of the mountain.

In a tense finish, Riblon closed down a 45 second gap on the second half of the final ascent to snatch victory from a tiring Tejay van Garderen, with just two kilometres remaining.

Richie Porte had earlier provided supreme support to Team Sky rider Froome, while Nairo Quintana of Movistar cut the overall gap to the race leader by one minute and six seconds to move into third in the general classification.

For the first time in two and a half weeks, Froome began to show signs of a struggle and soon called for Porte to collect an energy bar from the Team Sky support car. However, race officials later decided that Froome had indeed broken the rules, issuing a time penalty after the 28-year-old had crossed the line.

"It was a difficult stage," Froome said. "When I signalled for help I needed sugar and I was thankful that Richie was there."

Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha edged Porte and Froome to finish fifth behind Quintana after a strong last climb. Manxman Mark Cavendish came in well behind the leaders, crossing the line in 146th over 30 minutes behind.

However the day belonged to Frenchman Riblon, who ended his country's wait for a stage win with a remarkable climb to catch van Garderen on the famous ascent.

Stage 18 result
1. Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 4h 51mins 32secs
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC + 59secs
3. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling +1min 27secs
4. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team +2mins 12secs
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha +2mins 15secs
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky +3mins 18secs
7. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
8. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team +3mins 22secs
9. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi + 4mins 15secs
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team

General Classification after Stage 18
1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 71h 02mins 19secs
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff +5mins 11secs
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team +5mins 32secs
4. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff +5mins 44secs
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha +5mins 58secs
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team +8mins 58scs
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team +9mins 33secs
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff + 14mins 26secs
9. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step +14mins 38secs
10. Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Belking Pro Cycling +14mins 39secs

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