Bearded win for Simon Geschke and goodbye to the most famous Tejay since Hooker

Simon Geschke’s a good strong support rider and I was slightly surprised to learn that this was only his third professional win. A man with a beard as lustrous as his surely deserves more success.

As is so often the case by this point in the race, Geschke got in the day’s break, attacked on the day’s biggest climb and was strong enough to hold his advantage to the finish. Thibaut Pinot might have been one who could have caught him, but he decked it on a corner while heading down towards the final climb and understandably lost his bottle for the remainder of what was a fairly long and really quite hairy descent.

The maillot jaune group

There was a fall further back among the overall contenders as well. Alberto Contador went down on the same descent and lost touch with what was by now a pretty select group. He lost two minutes and slips behind Geraint Thomas on the general classication.

Thomas gained another place as well when the most famous Tejay since Hooker abandoned due to illness. Van Garderen was off the back of the peloton every time the pace went up and would have done himself more harm than good by continuing.

Stage 18

Up, down, up, down, up, down and an hors catégorie climb. Relentless nastiness, in short. Here’s the profile.

Also worth noting that the Lacets de Montvernier feature, so make sure you catch the highlights if you want to be bitch-slapped by spectacular scenery – which of course you do.