Another Pau stage finish saw the sprinters' teams fight off a potential breakaway victory, with Arnaud Demare capitalising to take his first win of this year's race.
By
Cycling Central

27 Jul 2018 - 10:35 AM  UPDATED 27 Jul 2018 - 10:39 AM

It's often a tough task to tell at a glance which teams are doing well at the Tour de France, there are 22 of them going around France, each with their own objectives and strengths. 

So borrowing a tool from other sports, Cycling Central will run a Power Rankings during this Tour de France. It's a quick guide from stage to stage of which teams are excelling and which are unlucky or faring poorly. 

Zwift Cycling Central Podcast - Tour de France 2018 - Contador drops by, and Demare wins in Pau

Stage 18 of the Tour de France with a special guest today in the name of legend Alberto Contador, we debrief the win by Demare in Pau and the performance of the Michelton-Scott boys today.

Arnaud Démare wins Tour sprint in Pau
A hot flat stage designed to break up the last week of Tour de France climbing ended in the expected sprint finish with Arnaud Démare taking the win.

1. Team Sky (no change)

It's so close now for Geraint Thomas. If he can get through the upcoming tough stage to Laruns, he's not going to lose two minutes to Tom Dumoulin in the time trial. A minute or less, and things look dicey.

Best Results: 2nd - Team Time Trial, 1st (Stages 11,12), 3rd (Stage 17) Yellow Jersey - Geraint Thomas, 3rd (Stage 11) 2nd GC - Chris Froome

Froome admits defeat, will work for Thomas
The four-time Tour de France champion says he will fight to keep Geraint Thomas mellow in yellow and the podium for himself.

2. Quick-Step Floors (no change)

Max Richeze attempted the sprint, but he's a much better leadout man than finisher. 

Tomorrow might be the final chance for Julian Alaphilippe, or the team may just concentrate on solidifying Bob Jungels 13th place on GC.

Best Results: 1st (Stages 1,4), 2nd (Stage 7), 1 day in Yellow - Fernando Gaviria, 1st (Stage 10, 16), 2nd (Stage 14), KOM jersey - Julian Alaphilippe, 3rd (Stage 5) - Philippe Gilbert , 3rd (Stage 9) - Yves Lampaert, 13th GC - Bob Jungels, 3rd Team Time Trial.

3. BORA-hansgrohe (no change)

Markus Burghardt quoted his teammate Peter Sagan as saying "The lion recovers faster than the zebra". Certainly Sagan was still on the prowl for another stage win despite his big fall on Stage 17, but he didn't quite have the same mojo as earlier in the race.

Best Results: 1st (Stages 2,5,13), 2nd (Stages 1,4,8), 3rd (Stage 7), 1 day in Yellow, Green Jersey - Peter Sagan.

4. LottoNL-Jumbo (no change)

Dylan Groenewegen going home has reduced the team's role on flat stages to pure support for their GC stars.

LottoNL-Jumbo will have some interesting options on Stage 19, it would take something spectacular from Kruijswijk to vault his way up the standings, but he's close enough that the top contenders can't just let him go. 

He could be a interesting foil for Roglic, but at the same time, the team probably won't want to jeopardise his 6th position on GC too much.

Best Results: 1st (Stages 7+8) - Dylan Groenewegen, 4th GC - Primoz Roglic, 6th GC - Steven Kruijswijk

5. Team Sunweb (no change)

It will be a tough ask for to claw back two minutes on Geraint Thomas in the next two stages, and the Dutchman has to also consider the potential of riders challenging his overall position from behind. He was the one that led the chase to bring back Roglic and Froome on Stage 17, and he could well be an ally of Thomas if the attacks again spark up early.

Best Results: 2nd (Stages 11,12), 2nd GC - Tom Dumoulin 

6. Movistar (no change)

It was a case of crashing back down to earth, both literally and figuratively, for Nairo Quintana in Stage 17. The team will be hoping that it doesn't stifle his superb current form, with the Colombian clearly the strongest on the Col du Portet.

Best Results: 1st (Stage 17), 5th GC - Nairo Quintana, 3rd (Stage 6), 11th GC - Alejandro Valverde, 7th GC - Mikel Landa 

Quintana: 'I'm always a bit f****d up'
Nairo Quintana crashed hard in Stage 18, suffering some minor injuries ahead of the final mountain stage.

7. Astana (no change)

Not much happening today. Another stage on the attack beckons.

Best Result: 1st (Stage 14) - Omar Fraile, 1st (Stage 15) Magnus Cort Nielsen, 10th GC - Jakob Fuglsang 

8. UAE Team Emirates (no change)

Alexander Kristoff was constantly mixing it up around the front of the peloton as it came down to the final sprint, but didn't have the punch to go with Demare and Laporte, let alone pass them.

Best Results: 1st (Stage 6), 2nd (Stage 17), 10th GC - Dan Martin, 2nd (Stage 13), 3rd (Stage 18) - Alexander Kristoff

9. Bahrain Merida (no change)

Sonny Colbrelli was well positioned at times in the final kilometres but got washed away late and wasn't able to recover to go for the win.

Best Results: 2nd (Stages 2+5) - Sonny Colbrelli, 2nd (Stages 10+15) - Ion Izagirre, 2nd (Stage 16) - Gorka Izagirre

10. BMC (no change)

The battle for the break didn't end up bearing any fruit for BMC. 

Best Results: 1st - Team Time Trial, 2nd (Stage 9), 8 days in Yellow Jersey - Greg van Avermaet

11. Trek-Segafredo (no change)

John Degenkolb was nowhere near the front when he should have been, and was sprinting from along way back. He still ran seventh and showed enough pace to think that he's not entirely without a shout on the Champs Elysees. 

Best Results: 1st (Stage 9) - John Degenkolb, 3rd (Stage 14) - Jasper Stuyven, 3rd (Stage 15) Bauke Mollema, 5 days in KOM jersey - Tom Skuijns

12. AG2R-La Mondiale (no change)

Nothing going on today for the French squad. Can Romain Bardet bounce back to take a much-needed stage win?

Pierre Latour will be a fight of his own for the white jersey, but as long he limits his losses he should be ok.

Best Results: 2nd (Stage 6), 14th GC, White Jersey - Pierre Latour, 8th GC - Romain Bardet

13. Groupama- FDJ (up two positions)

Credit to the team, they took control of the chase and then timed the leadout for Demare nicely. Jacopo Guarnieri delivered the Frenchman well past the 200 metre mark, and it was a strong sprint from Demare to finish it off.

Demare got a bit of added motivation from a Twitter-surfing Andre Greipel, who publicly questioned if the Frenchman had held onto a car to make the time cut on Stage 17.

Best Result: 3rd (Stages 2,13) - Arnaud Demare

Demare answers Greipel twitter barb with win
Arnaud Démare provided an effective riposte to his Twitter critics, which included departed sprinter André Greipel (Lotto Soudal).

14. Mitchelton-Scott (down one position) 

Mitchelton-Scott were very keen to make the breakaway work, but didn't quite get the numbers they would have been hoping for in the move. In the end it was a fast chop-off to the finish for the five riders including Australians Mat Hayman and Luke Durbridge, with Durbridge narrowly avoiding a dog and taking the most aggressive rider award.

Best Results: 5th - Team Time Trial, 3rd (Stage 16) Adam Yates

15. Cofidis (up one position)

Christophe Laporte tried to pass Demare in the final hundred metres but was obstructed by the Groupama-FDJ rider moving across his path. It didn't appear to disrupt the sprint overly, and there was no formal protest afterwards. Very positive signs for Laporte though, if he can dial in his leadout just a bit better, he stands a good chance of a Champs Elysees win.

Best Results: 2nd (Stage 18), 5th (Stages 1+7) Christophe Laporte

16. Direct Energie (down two positions)

Track star Thomas Boudat got himself in the breakaway, but the peloton kept him on a short leash. Their drop has more to do with FDJ and Cofidis moving up than the squad performing poorly.

Best Result: 3rd (Stage 10) - Rein Taaramae

17. Katusha-Alpecin (no change)

Moving right along. Been an uninteresting Tour since Marcel Kittel went home.

Best Results: 3rd - Marcel Kittel - Stage 1, 12th GC Ilnur Zakarin

18. Wanty-Groupe Gobert (up one position)

Guillame van Keirsbulck took centre stage as he was a key part of the breakaway effort. 

Best Results: 3 days in KOM jersey - Dion Smith, 15th GC - Guillame Martin

19. Lotto Soudal (down one position)

Andre Greipel remains the most interesting rider in the squad even when he isn't at the race! The big German had to back down from the cheating claims he made against Demare.

Best Result: 3rd - Andre Greipel - Stage 4

20. Dimension Data (up one position)

The best result of Tour so far for the squad was an off-the-pace fourth in the sprint after most of the fast men had gone home. Edvald Boasson Hagen was put in a position where he could have done something, but he's clearly lacking the pace he had earlier in his career.

Best Result: 4th (Stage 18) - Edvald Boasson Hagen 

21. Fortuneo-Samsic (down one position)

It will be a disappointing race for the French squad if all they can boast of is putting up a decent fight for the polka dot jersey and populating the occasional breakaway.

Best Result: 1 day in KOM jersey - Kevan Ledanois 

22. EF Education First-Drapac (no change)

Taylor Phinney was the chosen sprinter for the team in pin, they actually did a decent leadout for the American, but they didn't really have the firepower of the top squads.

Best Result: N/A

Coverage of Stage 19 will start from 8.30 pm (AEST) on SBS HD, also available on the SKODA Tour Tracker App and via live web streaming on SBS Cycling Central.