UAE Team Emirates' Darwin Atapuma pipped into second on Tour de France's stage 18

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Brave ride: From Atapuma.

UAE Team Emirates’ Darwin Atapuma produced one of the most inspiring rides of the Tour de France to date, as the Colombian finished second on stage 18, earning the red bib for his efforts as the most aggressive rider.

With less than 2km to go on Thursday’s Hors Category (HC) finish in Col d’Izoard, it looked as though Atapuma was going to win the race. But the UAE Team Emirates rider succumbed to late pressure from eventual winner, Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb).

There was also a top-10 finish for UAE Team Emirates’ General Classification contender, Louis Meintjes, who finished seventh, 37 seconds behind Barguil. Chris Froome (Team Sky) held on to the Yellow Jersey, with Meintjes still sitting second in the hunt for the White Jersey behind Simon Yates (ORICA-Scott).

“Today we prepared the stage very well and I think we did a great job. It is a shame we did not take the win, but to get second place, it really means a lot to me. It is almost like a victory,” said Atapuma.

Commenting on his the team’s performance, Meintjes said: “It was a really good day for the team with five in the breakaway and we got second place which is good.”

Friday’s stage 19 heads out of the mountains and towards the Provence region. At 222.5km, this stage is Le Tour’s longest passing from Embrun to Salon-en-Provence. This stage may not cause much of a change within the General Classification standings, as the riders prepare themselves for the following day’s time trial.

Stage 18 results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result

1 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb 3:38:15

2 Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:20

3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale “

7 Louis Meintjes (SA) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:37

General Classification results after stage 18

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky  78:08:19

2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Monidale 0:00:23

3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 0:00:29

8 Louis Meintjes (SA) UAE Team Emirates 0:06:52

Youth results after stage 18

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result

1 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica – Scott 68:20:38

2 Louis Meintjes (SA) UAE Team Emirates  0:02:06

3 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bura-hansgroe 0:26:15

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UAE Team Emirates’ Meintjes finishes fifth in stage 12 of Tour de France

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Louis Meintjes.

UAE Team Emirates’ Louis Meintjes continued his fine form as he secured a top five finish during Stage 12 of the Tour de France.

The 25-year-old was part of the leaders group crossing the finish line, moving up to tenth position in the General Classifications.

AG2R La Mondiale rider Romain Bardet soloed over the finish in triumph following a 214.5km ride from Pau to the summit finish at Peyragudes, with Fabio Aru taking the yellow jersey from Chris Froome.

It was a stunning performance nonetheless from South African Meintjes, who said: “Towards the end everything happened very fast. I’m really pleased with my performance.”

“In stages like these, you have to plan your attack well and know the course in advance especially when you’re up against teams like Team Sky, otherwise you are just wasting your energy.”

With white jersey leader Simon Yates finishing ninth, Meintjes reduced the gap in the young rider classification by 20 seconds – with the Briton still leading by 2 mins 38 seconds.

“The White Jersey is still something I am working towards, however the other day I lost quite a bit of time to Simon Yates that I think will be hard to get back. But who knows, anything can happen! I am hoping for the best.”

Friday’s stage will be another gruelling mountain ride, this time an explosive 101km race through the Pyrenees from Saint-Girons to Foix.

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Aru takes yellow as Bardet wins 12th stage of Tour de France

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Romain Bardet.

Chris Froome surrendered the yellow jersey to Fabio Aru as Romain Bardet won stage 12 of the Tour de France in Peyragudes.

Froome faded badly on the brutal final climb of the 214.5km stage from Pau while Aru finished third to take the final bonus seconds on offer.

The Italian national champion now leads the Tour by six seconds from Froome, with Bardet closing to within 25 seconds of yellow in third place overall.

A tough day in the mountains finished with a climb of the airstrip at Peyragudes, only a few hundred metres long but with gradients nearing 20 per cent.

The group of favourites came to the foot of the climb together, but after Aru struck out first, Froome struggled to respond.

Frenchman Bardet timed his attack to perfection, taking victory ahead of Aru and Colombian Rigoberto Uran, both two seconds back but picking up bonus seconds.

Froome finished a lowly seventh, 22 seconds behind Bardet.

Irishman Dan Martin was sixth, 13 seconds behind the winner while Simon Yates came home ninth in the best young riders’ white jersey, but gave up 20 seconds to rival Louis Meintjes of UAE Team Emirates.

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