Report of the 2018 season: the men of grand tours

Fourth episode of our analysis of the cycling season. After the young , sprinters , classic hunters , here comes the time of the men of great tours. Those who struggle for three weeks to win the most important coronation of a career but do not always achieve the desired results.

THE TOP

Geraint Thomas

The trackback-reconverted-rider-of-the-North-Classic-then-in-leader-of-big-tour experienced a classic season for a Sky leader. A second and third place in the Tour of Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico where he helps his teammate Kwiatkowski to win. A victory at Dauphine for the usual dress rehearsal.And a success without discussion on the Great Loop. For once, Thomas has not been a victim of the usual fall that has rotten the season and stands casually as a new strong men for grand tours. A single snag, which could also trigger debates: why he more or less stopped his season after the Tour and renounced the world championships? An attitude too Anglo-Saxon in a world of cycling with Latin values, it will not make it popular ...

Chris Froome

Friday, May 25, 2018, 19th stage of the Giro. Chris Froome, 4th overall at 3'22 in the pink jersey Simon Yates, places an attack in the terrible Colle delle Finestre, 80 kilometers from the finish. The Kenyan White goes alone to win the stage with 3 minutes ahead of a first group of 4 men, 8 minutes on the second group with the other leaders of the general and 38 minutes on the pink jersey. The greatest cycling achievement of the last 20 years! We could debate everything else, but we will not do it.

Simon Yates

At 48 hours, Simon Yates could become the fifth rider in history to make the Giro-Vuelta double, after Anquetil in '63, Merckx in '73, Battaglin in '81 and Contador in 2008. But after dominating the Giro until the 18th stage, by winning three partial successes, Simon cracked the Colle delle Finestre and left the Giro's victory to Chris Froome. He will soon learn the lesson by running the Vuelta more thoughtfully to impose himself in Madrid in a logical and indisputable way. The Brit was one of the great guys of the year, without a doubt. The hardest thing remains to be done: confirm next year.

Miguel Angel Lopez

Superman Lopez was finally able to do a whole season without physical problems and the results confirmed the full potential of the young Colombian. 2nd in the Tour of Oman, 3rd in the Abu Dhabi Tour, 3rd in the Giro del Trentino, 3rd and best youngster in the Giro, 3rd in the Vuelta. He may miss a stage victory in Italy and Spain, but it is hard to ask him more. In order to turn these podiums into victories, it will be necessary to improve the time trial, because Colombians who stop at the feet of the first step of the podium because of the limits in races against time, there are in already has a package ... And especially be careful, because the last two riders to be on the podium of the Giro and Vuelta the same year (Chaves in 2016 and Nibali in 2017) have made a great season for the big tours the next year.

Thibaut Pinot

Probably one of the best seasons for the Marc Madiot colt, even if, ironically, it is not in the general rankings of the great tours that he gets the best results. At the start of the season, he puts everything on the Giro and starts after winning the Tour des Alpes. He seems firmly anchored on the podium before collapsing dramatically in the penultimate stage. A hard blow that could have brought him down, but Tibopino gets back on his feet, runs the Vuelta without pressure, wins two stages and finishes sixth overall and sacrifices himself for the team at the world championships in Innsbruck.But above all, he returns to Italy to realize the fabulous double Milan-Turin / Tour of Lombardy.Casually, the unloved Pinot brings a classic monument in France 21 years after Laurent Jalabert.Chapopino!

Vincenzo Nibali

The goals set at the beginning of the season (Tour de France and World Championships) have not really been achieved by the Messina Shark, especially because of this damn fall in the Alpe d'Huez.But the masterpiece on the Poggio that allows him to be the first winner of great rounds to win Milan-Sanremo 30 years after Laurent Fignon, alone deserves praise. And then there was this Tour of Lombardy. Where Nibali did the show, but where Poinot was stronger. Where Nibali was caught by the pursuers two kilometers from the finish, but where Nibali did not want to finish last in the sprint of the group of beaten including riders like Uran, Majka or Wellens. The Squale has been resumed but retacked soon, just to finish second alone and have time to greet his audience. A rare and very strong gesture. Which explains why we love cycling.

Tom Dumoulin

The Maastricht butterfly has only two victories on the clock in 2018: the prologue of the Giro and the conclusive time trial of the Tour de France. The two big tours are also more or less the only races that Dumoulin ran this year. Although he did not win any final victory, it must be admitted that he passed very close to the famous double Giro-Tour. Closer than the last riders who tried the feat like Contador, Quintana and even Chris Froome. Dumoulin lost the Giro because of Froome's exploit and a tactical error in the Bardonecchia stage, where he should have pursued a solitary pursuit rather than waiting for help from the other pursuers. He lost the Tour, especially because of a mechanical problem followed by a penalty in the stage of Mûr de Bretagne. After this double second place, he puts it back at the Innsbruck world championships by taking the silver medal in the team and individual time trial.He made a good number in the road race, proving that he rarely missed major events, but has no energy to fight for the podium. Anyway another second place, it would have been too much ...

Romain Bardet

In the top? In the flop? In the top? In the flop? Romain Bardet went from one category to another during the writing of the article ... It is finally among the beautiful realities of the season more for its panache in the races of a day than for its results. It is true that a season with a single victory at the Classic Ardèche, two top-10 in one-week races (3rd Dauphiné, 8th in the Deutschland Tour) and a sixth place overall in the Tour de France without never be in the game, it is not really a success for one of the leaders of the pack. But Bardet has discovered that he can be a major player in day-long racing more than the usual Big Loop. His show in the Strade Bianche was unexpected, even if he had to settle for second place. His third place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège confirms his good feeling with the Dean of classics. His silver medal at the Innsbruck World Championships tastes a bit bitter, but places his name on the Rainbow Race chart. An advice ? Drop the Roman Tour de France, and have fun in the other races much more interesting.

Primoz Roglic

Authoritarian winner of the Tours of the Basque Country, the Tour of Romandie and the Tour of Slovenia, the Slovenian has achieved a 2018 season of great beauty. Quoted among the outsiders of the Tour de France where he won a stage, Roglic missed a bit of luck and narrowly fails in fourth place in a General who has long stretched his arms. At 29, the former ski jumper seems to have definitely taken the height and with the qualities that are his, the future looks bright indeed. More than ever surrounded by the Lotto Jumbo, Primoz is now the man to follow in 2019.

 

FLOP

Fabio Aru

Without a doubt one of the biggest disappointments of the year. Not only did he miss the Giro and the Vuelta completely, starting with the group of leaders with difficulty to finish in the grupetto, but in addition, he obtained no honorable result in the other races. His best result of the year is his 6th place in the Tour of Trentino. The change of team can not explain everything and in the future, we will think twice before citing it among the favorites of the big stage races.

Adam Yates

While still considered the most gifted twin brother for the three-week races, Adam disappoints on the Tour while his brother Simon makes the show on the Giro and Vuelta. His places of honor in the general rankings of the Volta a la Comunidad Valenciana, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of California and Dauphine, are not enough to compensate for his bad Tour de France where he comes out of the fight for the general classification very early and is then unable to save his lap thanks to a stage victory that will never happen despite many attempts.

Ilnur Zakarin

After his fifth place at the Giro and third place at the Vuelta in 2017, Ilnur Zakarin was one of the most anticipated men at the beginning of the season. But, like the entire Katusha team, the Russian is having a season ... shit. Some top-10 in stages at Dauphine, Tour and Vuelta, a disappointing ninth place overall at the Grande Boucle, and nothing else. Zakarin is no longer young, he will soon be 30 years old, if he does not climb the slope next season, he may remain an eternal hope, unable to compete with the achievements of his Russian predecessor Denis Menchov.

Richie Porte

In a perfect remake of "As much in em ... Worn the Wind", Richie played his best role of the year. The man we are accustomed to designate as the black cat of the peloton has not failed in his tenacious reputation. Door starts however 2018 by a fifth consecutive victory on the queen stage of the Tour Down Under at Willunga Hill. Third in the Tour de Romandie, he then wins the Tour de Suisse and confidently approaches the Tour de France. To the chagrin of his many supporters but without much surprise, he will give up during the pavement stage with a broken shoulder and must postpone his ambitions on a Vuelta he will cross like a fart on a oilcloth. Tired of his troubles, he does not even participate in the World Championships which suited him like a glove and leaves the BMC by the very small ... door!

Esteban Chaves

That 2016 seems far away for the charismatic and always smiling little Colombian. We thought his problems behind him when he won the 6th stage at the top of Mount Etna during the last Giro. It will be his only event in 2018, he who sank body and soul on the continuation of the Tour of Italy he will end in agony. Chaves did not suspect at that moment, that this was his last race of the year. Victim of mononucleosis, then reduced by a series of allergies, he has indeed not participated in any test since then. Will he be able one day to quickly find the level that was his? In any case, we wish El Chavito a 2019 year more prolific than the last two.

Rigoberto Uran

This is hardly a mystery, certainly, but we do not know Rigobert for his ability to raise the crowds.Author of a beautiful season 2017, the ambitious Uran was still an outsider of choice for 2018. After a smooth start to the season, it will be necessary to wait until June and the Tour of Slovenia to see him finally win the third stage and finish second overall. A good omen before the Tour de France, he finished second in 2017, but he will not see the finish after his abandonment during the paving step.He then postpones his hopes of conquest on the Vuelta but can not do better than a tasteless seventh place overall. Las, his 33rd place at the world championships will not give him much more balm to the heart. A season to forget ...

Nairo Quintana

We must admit, Kingtana has fallen from his throne for a long time. Designated by his peers as the greatest rival of Froomey on the Grand Tours, we are entitled today to wonder what could move Nairo and re-create a potential winner over three weeks. In perpetual quest of its best form, Little Big Man no longer seems to be able to worry many people and its meager performance is no longer enough to rekindle a flame more than ever faltering. Author of his worst season since 2013, the cohabitation with Valverde, Landa and other Soler has undoubtedly pleaded his case and it is clear that the review at the top of the poster is now a miracle. Let's not forget everything but 2019 is still in Nairoman's last year ...

Warren Barguil

Talking of disappointment is a euphemism for Wawa in 2018. After a 2017 year-end in the tail but with some great performances, Warren was only the shadow of himself this season. Not really helped by a very weak team and unable to weigh on any race, it was simply transparent. No significant result for the Breton who could not reproduce his brilliance of the previous year where he had achieved a Tour de France beyond all his expectations. Third on the Grand Prix of Wallonia is good and at the same time very little for a contender for honors on the Grands Tours.

Mikel Landa

Mikel's return home did not really go as he had hoped. Arrived at Movistar in the offseason with the goal of gradually taking over the success of Alejandro Valverde as second leader for the great tours, Landa found himself without real landmarks, especially in comparison with his experiences at Astana and Sky. He gives up incomprehensibly the Giro, where he would have been the unique leader of a great team, to be part of the "dream-team" of Unzué the Tour and finally shake the Sky. But between the team's dubious tactical choices and a condition that prevented him from becoming anonymous, Landa ran the Tour without actually attacking. He still finished best of Movistar, in seventh place ... If he had known that he was a leader in fact, things might have turned out otherwise ...