Nairo Quintana (Movistar) went into the stage with the potential for things to go well - inline with the from he had shown at the summit of the Col du Portet on Stage 17. The chance of a bad day was also on the horizon, as he suffered a nasty crash on Stage 18, taking a bit of a battering for the upcoming key mountain stage.
Unfortunately for Quintana, it was the latter, with the Spaniard dropping off the pace on the early slopes of the Col d'Aubisque, with 34 kilometres to go.
The tiny Colombian ground his way to the finish, eventually ending up finishing over seven minutes behind on the stage. With the loss of time, Quintana dropped four places on the general classification (GC), from fifth to ninth.
“The crash really did hurt me," said Quintana. "I was suffering pain everywhere; mostly in my hip. I wasn’t even able to get out of the saddle.
"We fought on, trying to lose as little time as possible - and fortunately, we had Landa up there, accomplishing the race strategy we had drawn before the start – which was attacking on the Tourmalet, either him or myself, and stay at the front to see what happened with our rivals.
"It was a very, very hard day for me. The inflammation after the crash really took its toll on my performance. Let’s see how I wake up tomorrow – I’d like to do well in the TT, continue to improve in that discipline, I’ll give it my all.”
Teammate Mikel Landa had a much better day than Quintana, finishing seventh on the stage after carrying out an audacious attack on the Col du Tourmalet, a plan which wasn't far off gaining significant time on his GC rivals. Landa commented upon the pre-race optimism that he had shared with Quintana.
"Nairo and I had spoken before the stage and he was willing to try something, too. However, looking at the results, he certainly wasn’t feeling as fresh as before the crash – he might have paid for that."
Neither Landa or Quintana are specialists in the time-trial and will likely be content with maintaining their positions on GC.
Stage 19 of the 2018 Tour de France and Thomas controlled the race, as Primož Roglič won the stage, Christophe Mallet and Dave McKenzie debrief the stage, as well as the Froome performance today.