Thibaut Pinot claimed his third stage win in the Tour de France after Porrentruy in 2012 and L’Alpe d’Huez in 2015 as he stormed to victory at the top of Col du Tourmalet while Julian Alaphilippe, second on the line with a deficit of six seconds, retained the yellow jersey and extended his lead over Steven Kruijswijk and Geraint Thomas.
164 riders took the start of stage 14 in Tarbes with one non-starter: Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe). Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) was the first man to attack after the drop of the flag with Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) the first across to him.
With 96km to go, it became a group of 17 riders with the addition of Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), Matthieu Ladagnous (Groupama-FDJ), Carlos Verona (Movistar), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Lennard Kämna (Sunweb), Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Lilian Calmejane, Romain Sicard and Rein Taaramëe (Total Direct Energie), Ilnur Zakarin and Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin), Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic).
Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck-Quick Step set the pace at the head of the peloton after counter-attackers Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis) and Simon Geschke (CCC) were reeled in. The time gap was stabilized under three minutes before climbing to the first category col du Soulor.
Nibali reacted to an attack by Wellens 2.5km before the Col du Soulor. Gesbert made it across. Nibali showed some interest for the polka dot jersey as he tried to go solo before the summit but Wellens outsprinted him way before the line while the category one climb had made some damage in the yellow jersey group with Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) among the riders unexpectedly dropped as Ineos and Movistar succeeded to Groupama-FDJ at the helm.
Nibali, Wellens and Gesbert kept going in the valley leading to the Tourmalet. Wellens also passed first at the intermediate sprint with 37.5km to go while Movistar put the hammer down at the head of the peloton. The leading trio was caught by five chasers. One of them, Sicard, counter-attacked with 35km remaining.
Sicard started climbing to the Tourmalet alone but Gesbert passed him 16km before the summit and continued solo. After Gesbert was caught with 10.5km to go, Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) escaped 9.5km before the top. He stayed away for 4km. A third Breton rider attacked 4km before the end: David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ).
Jumbo-Visma, the only team with three riders in the 12-man group, brought him back. 12 climbers remained at the front 3km before the end: Pinot, Landa, Fuglsang, Bernal, Thomas, De Plus, Bennett, Kruijswijk, Alaphilippe, Urán, Buchmann and Barguil.
Being the defending champion, Thomas was the most notable rider to lose contact before the top. Pinot accelerated 250 metres before the finishing line. Buchmann and Bernal were last to resist but the Frenchman upped the speed again and powered to victory with a 6″ difference to Alaphilippe who increased his overall lead.