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In the end, all the Breton flags and “Allez Warren” shouts of encouragement were not quite enough to push Warren Barguil to victory.
After spending 55 kilometers in front alone on stage 11 of the 2022 Tour de France, the Arkéa Samsic rider came up five short. And on the exacting Col du Granon, that’s still half a mountain to climb.
“I gave a lot at the start of the stage to get into the breakaway on flat roads, which aren’t to my advantage,” he told French television after the finish.
“But you’ve got to try something and I went for it, so I have no regrets this evening.”
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Having joined the day’s sizable breakaway, he attacked remaining companions Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Simon Geschke (Cofidis), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) and Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) with seven kilometers left of the Galibier.
Barguil went over the top at 2,630 meters first, earning 30 points in the King of the Mountains competition. As the highpoint of this year’s Tour de France, he also won the Souvenir Henri Desgrange, a historic award which carries prize money of €5,000.
The stage victory was in play. Barguil pressed home a lead of two minutes on lone chaser Geschke and four and a half minutes over the favorites at the foot of the Col du Granon.
However, he found his efforts on the descent and the valley catching up with him on the final climb. “I had nothing left seven kilometers from the finish, though I gave it everything to do something,” he said.
He was soon passed by his teammate Nairo Quintana, who had attacked from the group of favorites. “I saw he was coming up to me, and I tried to give him a turn to help him win. Unfortunately, he was second, but I think the team had a good day,” Barguil says.
Quintana moved up to fifth overall, 2:37 down on new race leader Jonas Vingegaard. Barguil finished tenth and was awarded the Combativity prize.
Warren wants to be king again
The Breton won the King of the Mountains competition and two stages in 2017, and he is approaching that kind of form again.
“I think I’m carrying a few grams too much [compared to back then], but that’s the racing I like: going on the attack,” he said.
His thoughts turn to the King of the Mountains competition for this year’s race. “I’ve got those points and that counts for a lot. We’ll see tomorrow how it goes; it’s a very important stage for the jersey, so you need to be in front.”
The French wait for a stage win in their home race continues. Doing it tomorrow – for Barguil or any compatriot – on the Alpe d’Huez on Bastille Day would be something to truly savor.