The hilly parcours provided an opportunity for the puncheurs with two category four climbs in the last ten kilometers likely to prove decisive before the downhill run into the center of Lyon.
An early breakaway attempt by Stefan Küng (Groupama – FDJ) and Edward Theuns (Trek – Segafredo) was kept on a short leash with Bora – hansgrohe setting a fast pace behind to distance the sprinters on the category two Col du Beal.
Küng attacked solo but was reeled in by the peloton with Alessandro De Marchi, Michael Schär, and Jan Hirt helping set the tempo, even after catching Küng, to put the group under pressure approaching the punchy finale.
Thanks to solid teamwork all day, Trentin and Van Avermaet were positioned well on the technical run into the final climb and prepared for the first attacks which came at the bottom of the Côte de la Duchère.
With a big group still behind, attacks from Tiejs Benoot (Team Sunweb) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) were brought back and Van Avermaet was quick to respond to Peter Sagan (Bora – hansgrohe) before the group came back together ahead of the final climb.
The winning move came from Kragh Andersen over the top of the climb and a ten-second advantage proved enough to hold the peloton off to take the win while behind, Trentin sprinted to seventh place in the reduced bunch sprint.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“In our team meeting this morning we discussed that Team Sunweb had been hiding themselves yesterday and for sure they would go again today. To be honest, they had the strongest team there in the final because everyone was committed from us and from Bora – hansgrohe to leave the sprinters behind. We did it, the guys did an amazing ride today, I think we showed we were riding for the victory. Greg and I were there in the final, Greg followed the attacks and I was there to sprint in the finale. It was super, super hard. All day we pushed on the pedal and the final was even harder. It’s like this, we just need to except that someone was stronger. But with the commitment we showed, I think we can look to next Friday, because the other stages are way too hard, and then we see.”
Greg Van Avermaet:
“We were looking to Bora – hansgrohe to see what they would do and if there was a good gap, we would help so that Matteo and I would have a chance at the finish because not every sprinter is there, we have a better chance to win. That was the plan and that’s what happened. We had just been caught back at the top of the climb and it was a hard effort to be there and everyone was on their limit I think and then Kragh Andersen chose the right moment. Chapeau to him to keep away to the line. The battle for the green jersey makes the race even more difficult now so we will see what the next days bring.”
Tour de France
Stage 14 Clermont – Ferrand > Lyon (194km)
Top 3: 1. Søren Kragh Andersen, 2. Luka Mezgec, 3. Simone Consonni
CCC Team top 3: 7. Matteo Trentin, 21. Greg Van Avermaet, 64. Michael Schär