Skip to main content

French win but hungry Froome on top

July 18, 2013 -- Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT)
 Christophe Riblon survived an adventurous ride to end the French wait for a win.
Christophe Riblon survived an adventurous ride to end the French wait for a win.
  • Home crowd celebrate as the wait is over for first French winner on 2013 Tour de France
  • Christophe Riblon makes a late strike to win grueling 18th stage
  • Britain's Chris Froome extends his overall lead over Spain's Alberto Contador
  • Froome penalised for breaking rules banning feeding in the last 20km of the stage

(CNN) -- There was French fever as Christophe Riblon won stage 18 of the Tour de France -- but it was Britain's Chris Froome who extended his overall lead despite being handed a penalty.

The famous Alpe d'Huez route asked more of the riders this year as, for the first time, the pack made a first ascent before descending back to the valley floor and then climbing the mountain for a second time.

After an attacking ride, Froome fell foul of the energy-sapping conditions inside the last five kilometers of the 172-km route.

The Briton sent his Sky team-mate Richie Porte back to the support car for food -- even though it is against the rules to 'feed' inside the last 20 kilometers of a stage.

Race officials handed Froome a 20-second penalty but the yellow jersey holder still stretched his lead over rival Alberto Contador to five minutes, 11 seconds.

Read: Froome takes third stage win

Cycling for a better future
Becoming a Tour de France champ
Armstrong's cycling legacy

"Richie was feeling a lot better than I was and I was running out of sugars towards the end," explained Froome, who is aiming to win his first Tour de France after helping Sir Bradley Wiggins to the crown last year.

"I had to ask him to go back and grab me some sugars from the car.

"I was just getting in as best I could in those last few kilometers. I'm not sure if it made any difference at that point in the race.

"It's a horrible feeling and I'm just happy to have come out with more of an advantage than I had at the start of the stage.

"This was definitely one of the harder days that we've seen in this Tour but I think that's to be expected: two times up Alpe d'Huez and this late in the race, it's definitely a hard day."

With three stages left to go before the Tour reaches its climax on the streets of the French capital, Contador must also find an extra burst of energy.

The Spaniard was unable to respond when Froome pushed on twice during the second ascent.

"I wasn't on a good day," said Contador. "It was hot and very humid. But despite my setback I've limited my losses. I hope to have better legs in the next few days."

The fans, many in colorful fancy-dress costumes, had squeezed along the stunning route despite the odd rain shower or two.

French kisses

They were rewarded with the first French stage winner on this year's Tour as Riblon picked off tiring American Tejay Van Garderen inside the final two kilometers.

"When I was about eight years old, I saw on the TV a victory of a cyclist at Alpe d'Huez and I hoped that one day maybe I could do it too," Riblon, who blew kisses to the crowd, said.

"When I saw at the start of the climb that Van Garderen attacked me I knew I couldn't follow him.

"Three kilometers from the finish, I saw him and he didn't look good so I started to believe in my good stars. And I sprinted and the public supported me and I'm in the sky!"

The riders must endure another test of stamina on stage 19 as they face a 204-km rollercoaster ride through the mountains.

Part of complete coverage on
July 9, 2013 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Engulfed by the darkness of doping's "white noise", he emerged the other side to become a beacon in cycling's anti-drugs fight.
July 5, 2013 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
Triathlon has a reputation for being expensive. In fact, the perceived costs are enough to stop some from taking up the challenge.
July 1, 2013 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
It cost his newspaper a thumping $1.6 million in legal costs.
June 29, 2013 -- Updated 1605 GMT (0005 HKT)
If the Tour de France founder Henri Desgrange could have transported himself forward to the 100th edition, he might have abandoned the idea altogether.
June 22, 2013 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Jan Ullrich, who won the 1997 Tour de France, admitted to doping for the first time in an interview with a German magazine.
August 24, 2012 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
Lance Armstrong during the 2005 Tour de France
Lance Armstrong is fighting to not only keep his seven Tour de France titles, but also his reputation as one of sport's most remarkable athletes.
October 11, 2012 -- Updated 0157 GMT (0957 HKT)
armstrong us postal
Lance Armstrong was involved in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."
October 11, 2012 -- Updated 1934 GMT (0334 HKT)
Lance Armstrong has not yet faced a backlash from the brands that have backed him. CNN's Jim Boulden explains.
August 21, 2012 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
A federal judge dismissed the latest lawsuit filed by champion cyclist Lance Armstrong aimed at halting the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's case against him.
August 11, 2012 -- Updated 0001 GMT (0801 HKT)
"Even if I could physically do it ... I wouldn't want to go onto another Games because this has been as good as it can get," says Olympic champion Chris Hoy.
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Adrien Niyonshuti is unlikely to win an Olympic medal, and he will do well to even finish his event, but his story is surely one of the most inspirational.
August 9, 2012 -- Updated 2132 GMT (0532 HKT)
You're an Olympic champion and you've gone out at the top of your game -- so what next? Victoria Pendleton is considering work experience.
August 4, 2012 -- Updated 0945 GMT (1745 HKT)
When Olympic officials cracked down on rogue merchandising, they couldn't have imagined the must-have accessory would be a pair of fake sideburns.
July 22, 2012 -- Updated 1804 GMT (0204 HKT)
The 99th Tour de France took place over three weeks from June 30 to July 22. See the best pictures from the race here.
July 23, 2012 -- Updated 1011 GMT (1811 HKT)
Bradley Wiggins makes history on the Champs Elysees as he becomes the first British rider to win cycling's Tour de France.