There’s a mighty weight pushing down on Warren Barguil’s narrow shoulders at this Tour.
His team, Fortuneo-Samsic, would have been unlikely candidates to receive their wildcard invite were it not for their star signing. His early season form with the Pro Conti squad has been less than sparkling. The expectation is for last year’s king of the mountains and double stage winner to pull something out of the hat and give his team – and the French nation – something to shout about.
Having stated his intention to deliberately lose time on GC to gain permission from the peloton to give him enough rope to mount an attack, stage 10’s little dig on the Col de Romme, followed by a ten-minute deficit by the time he’d reached Le Grand-Bornand, did the trick, and today saw Barguil joining a sizeable 30-strong break.
The Fortuneo boys were there in force, four of their eight riders making the cut and pushing the pace on the Col du Pre to keep the peloton at bay. Barguil took maximum mountains points at the summit, then again on the Roseland.
The 17.6km slog to La Rosière proved to be one climb too far for the boys in white, as Barguil lost the last of his mountain helpers, but they’d played an absolute blinder and taken the stage on with aplomb.
As for the polka dot jersey, it remains on the shoulders of Julian Alaphilippe for now, following his superb ride and win on stage 10.
But the Breton is now breathing down the neck of his compatriot. Alaphilippe can probably smell his banana breath…
It’s another big day in the mountains tomorrow, with four classified climbs should Barguil have the legs to go again. Roll on Alpe d’Huez.
Warren Barguil is in issue 18.4 of Rouleur, our Tour de France special, out now
The Rouleur Top Banana goes to an unsung hero of each stage of the Tour de France – not the winner, not the yellow jersey – but a rider whose efforts deserve recognition
Tour de France 2018, Rouleur Top Bananas: