Michal Kwiatkowski won stage 18 of the Tour de France in La Roche-sur-Foron after spending the last 60km off the front in the company of his Ineos teammate Richard Carapaz on the race’s final day in the Alps.
The pair had an unassailable lead by the time they navigated the gravel atop the Plateau des Glières with 30km remaining, and they were able to sit up and savour their exploit in the finishing straight, where Kwiatkowski eased across the line ahead of his companion.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won the sprint for third – and the remaining 4-second time bonus – after he led the yellow jersey group home at 1:51, and his effort helped to ensure that Primoz Roglic maintains his 57-second lead over Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) atop the overall standings with just three days remaining.
In a heartfelt, lengthy, press conference, Kwiatkowski confirmed that for Ineos Grenadiers, a victory, particularly of this kind, after leader Egan Bernal had to abandon, was exceptionally welcome. He said that Carapaz had told him he could have the win and that the victory was dedicated to their late director, Nicolas Portal.
South Africa’s Daryl Impey, riding for Mitchelton-Scott finished the 175km stage in 5hr 16min 24sec, some 28min 51sec behind stage winner Kwiatkowski and in 83rd position. Countryman Ryan Gibbons, in the colours of NTT Pro Cycling, crossed the line nearly three minutes further back in 113th position. On the overall classification Impey is 97th and Gibbons 123rd.