France’s Christophe Riblon won the eighteenth stage of the 2013 Tour de France on Thursday, the second stage win of his career. Britain’s Chris Froome built on his lead but didn’t have a strong day of racing, incurring a twenty-second penalty for “illegal feeding” (during the last six kilometers of the stage, riders are not allowed to take food or drinks form the team car, a rule which Froome and teammate Richie Porte broke).
Despite the penalty and struggling during the uphill stage, Froome still leads Alberto Contador, the 2007 and 2009 Tour de France champion, by 5:11 in the overall standings. In third place is Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, who trails Contador by 21 seconds. Quintana spoke about his strong day of riding and assessed his overall chances after his impressive stage (via Reuters):
I’ve never been as happy as I am today – I’ve gone from sixth to third overall, I’ve taken one minute out of Froome’s lead… I didn’t realize that he had some problems but my timing was ideal. I had a bit of luck.
Tomorrow and the next day are very hard stages so have to recover quickly and get ready for the challenges that lie ahead… but I accept that winning this Tour is no longer an obtainable objective – the gap to Froome is too big.