The great race is done and dusted for another year, but the exploits of the riders live on. So in the wake of another dramatic three weeks, we look back at which of the grimpeurs, sprinteurs, puncheurs and of course rouleurs made their mark in the 2018 Tour de France.
Grimpeur: Egan Bernal
The 21-year old Colombian was possibly the best climber in the race, but he dedicated his individual talent to the team cause. His casual style on the front of the main group of contenders made it look so easy, however the pace he would set towards the climax of tough mountain stages both spat out and deterred attacks from Sky’s rivals. Would Geraint Thomas have won the Tour without him? Quite possibly. Would Chris Froome have also made the podium? Probably not.
Sprinteur: Fernando Gaviria
Another Colombian, but that’s only right for a coffee cup classification. Also making his Tour debut, the Quick Step rider looked the best in the purest sprints to snap up two stages near the beginning of the race. Gaviria then did what any true, self-respecting sprinter should do: disappear somewhere in the mountains when things got a little bit awkward.
Puncheur: Julian Alaphilippe
He’s still not really a climber, is he? More an Ardennes rider who’s extended the size of climbs his punch is effective on. His unconventional approach to pacing on the climbs – letting riders go then surging back near the top – brought a new dynamism to mountain racing. He rode with flare and character, his two stage wins were marvellously executed and his overwhelming takeover of the polka dot jersey underlined his commitment.
Rouleur: Michael Valgren
Perhaps not the most obvious candidate, but this year’s Het Nieuwsblad and Amstel Gold winner impressed us with his presence in a number of breaks on a variety of terrain. He didn’t land himself much personal glory, but the presence of both he and Magnus Cort in the decisive split on the road to Carcassonne gave Astana a rich selection of finishing options which almost guaranteed they would take the stage win after a nonetheless tactically intriguing finale. He also manages to style out the totally shredded look.
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