Tour de France: Emotional stage win for Michal Kwiatkowski

Ineos rider finally reaps reward of years of team sacrifice

Friday, 18th September 2020, 11:54 am
Michal Kwiatkowski raises his fist in triumph. Picture: Stuart Franklin/AP
Michal Kwiatkowski raises his fist in triumph. Picture: Stuart Franklin/AP

Michal Kwiatkowski won stage 18 of the Tour de France and Richard Carapaz moved into the polka dot jersey as the Ineos Grenadiers set about salvaging their race following the withdrawal of Egan Bernal.

Primoz Roglic retained the yellow jersey and his 57-second advantage over fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar at the top of the general classification but the day belonged to Ineos, with Kwiatkowski and Carapaz the final two survivors of what had been a 32-man breakaway on the 175km stage from Meribel to La Roche-sur-Foron.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The pair made the approach to La Roche-sur-Foron deep in conversation, patting each on the back under the flamme rouge, before Kwiatkowski crossed the line first to give the Pole his first Grand Tour stage win.

Ineos have been active in breaks since Bernal shipped time in Sunday’s stage on Le Grand Colombier before withdrawing from the race with a back injury on Wednesday morning following further losses on Tuesday.

The win was emotional for the popular Kwiatkowski who has sacrificed his talents in the service of others for several years but got his reward here.

“That was some day,” the 2014 world champion said. “I can’t describe how grateful I am to the whole team and to Richard. It was an incredible day for us and I will never forget that. I’ve had some nice moments in cycling but that was a new experience. I’ve got goosebumps for the last I don’t know how many kilometres because I knew the gap is so big that we’re going to make it and we both really enjoyed the last kilometres.

“I think we’re going to celebrate big time tonight.”

Carapaz will need to wait for another shot at his own first Tour stage win, but the reigning Giro d’Italia champion got the reward of polka dots instead.

The Ecuadorian had been battling Team Sunweb’s Marc Hirschi for mountain points as both riders looked to overhaul Pogacar in the category, but a crash for Hirschi on a descent midway through the stage put Carapaz in the driving seat and he now leads the category by two points.

The main group of contenders crossed the line a little under two minutes later, with no change at the top.

Miguel Angel Lopez remains third and Richie Porte recovered from a puncture to cling on to fourth place and stay on course for a best career Tour finish.

However, Adam Yates lost touch with the yellow jersey group on the final climb and lost two places, dropping back to seventh overall as Spanish duo Mikel Landa and Enric Mas moved up to fifth and sixth respectively.

Earlier in the day, Irishman Sam Bennett used the intermediate sprint to stretch his advantage over Peter Sagan to 52 points in the battle for the green jersey.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.