Christophe Riblon finally offered the cycling-mad French their first home victory of the 100th edition of the Tour de France on Thursday when he won Stage 18.
The day’s ride was dubbed the ‘queen stage’ as it took the peloton up the gruelling Alpe d’Huez not once but twice.
BMC’s American rider Tejay van Garderen and Riblon made the break of the day.
But Van Garderen dropped his French rival as they made their way up the Alpe d’Huez for the second time.
Riblon managed to claw his way back and with just a kilometre to the mountain-top finish exploded into the lead to take a stunning solo win.
Van Garderen held on for second place just under a minute behind Riblon while Italian Moser Moreno crossed over for third.
Overall race leader Chris Froome was tucked up nicely in group chasing the front runners.
Luckily for the Team Sky rider, rival and two time champion Alberto Contador paid the price for a couple of earlier attacks and fell behind.
Motoring along with teammate Richie Porte, Froome eventually crossed the line in seventh three minutes and 18 seconds off the pace to keep himself firmly on track for overall glory.
After the race Froome was handed a 20-second penalty for illegal feeding in the final ascent but he still holds a 5 minute and 51 second advantage over Contador ahead of stage 19’s mountainous 204.5 kilometre slog to Le Grand Bornand.
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