Simon Geschke (Cofidis) was in tears at the finish of stage 18 of the Tour de France after slipping out of the mountains classification lead. Stage winner and race leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) took the top spot after his victory on the hors categorie climb to Hautacam, but Geschke will still have his name written in the history books as the German to spend the most days in the polka dot jersey with nine.
With only three more points available until the finish in Paris, re-taking the polka dot jersey will be impossible for the Cofidis rider.
“We knew that the challenge would be difficult to meet but we tried everything,” his team said in a social media post. “Thank you for these nine beautiful days Simon, which make you the German rider who has worn this mythical jersey the most in the history of the Tour.”
Geschke tried to make it to the day’s breakaway on the flatter first 58km of the daunting 143.2-kilometre stage from Lourdes, attacking repeatedly to try to make the move, but missed the escape.
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) had several teammates in the breakaway to help him to the points on the first HC climb, the Col d’Aubisque, and drew within three points of taking the jersey.
However, the intense competition between Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Vingegaard on the category 1 Col de Spandelles and the final HC ascent to Hautacam gave the Dane 20 points and pushed him over the top.
“Thanks for the overwhelming support from Germany and everywhere my friends,” Geschke wrote on social media. “Bit of a heartbreak to lose the jersey on the very last mountain stage but that’s sport. Thanks everyone @TeamCOFIDIS for the support as well. At least we died trying!”
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