Rigoberto Uran gained a precious four seconds on the Tour de France general classification on a day that saw the yellow jersey change shoulders from Fabio Aru (Astana) to Chris Froome (Sky). Cannondale-Drapac perfectly positioned Uran on the steep, short kicker up to the finish line in Rodez and was awarded for its opportunistic approach to the stage 14 finale.
“It was a stressful day,” said sport director Charly Wegelius. “It was windy with a hard finish and a risk of time gaps at the line, which we were aware of. There was also a possibility to gain time. We took that chance with both hands and really invested in it.”
Saturday’s 181-kilometer stage was a technical affair with undulating roads and several exposed sections. The first break attempt was given the nod by sprint teams, Sky and Astana, who quickly spread out across the road to prevent further attacks. When the gap neared three minutes, the same teams controlled the pace, keeping the five riders out front at a manageable distance.
The peloton thinned out over the pair of category three climbs that featured in the final third of the stage, which hinted at further splits to follow in the finale.
“It was a very windy run-in and then there was 500 meter kick up the finish line,” explained road caption Simon Clarke. “This was always going to be very important for all the GC riders because of the possibility of splits that would cost them valuable seconds.
“I was right up there with Rigo at the end,” Clarke noted. “A stage like today is my bread and butter. I was confident going in that I could look after Rigo. We hit the bottom of the kicker with 500 to go and we were both right there, right where we needed to be, in the top 15. We made up some valuable time on a few GC riders as a result. Today couldn’t have gone better.”