Julian Alaphilippe became the first home rider to record a stage win at the 2018 Tour de France as Greg Van Avermaet extended his overall lead on Tuesday.
Frenchman Alaphilippe was overcome with emotion as he crossed the finish line in Le Grand-Bornard following a 159-kilometer ride from Annecy, shedding tears of joy before being congratulated by former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
As the Tour resumed after a rest day with a trip into the Alps, the Quick-Step Floors rider was among a large group that broke clear from the peloton in the early part of Stage 10.
Alaphilippe seized control on the Col de Romme, the day’s penultimate climb, and extended his advantage on the ascent up Col de la Colombiere as he finished over 90 seconds clear of his nearest rival, Spaniard Jon Izaguirre Insausti.
Rein Taaramae was third ahead of Van Avermaet, who defied pre-stage expectations by not only retaining the yellow jersey but even gaining time on his rivals.
The Belgian — not renowned for his climbing abilities in the saddle — sits two minutes and 22 seconds ahead of Geraint Thomas in the general classification, while four-time champion Chris Froome is just under a minute further adrift in sixth place.
Former French president @NicolasSarkozy is happy with the French win today!
Les félicitations de l’ancien président @NicolasSarkozy pour @alafpolak !#TDF2018 pic.twitter.com/nLBTlw7vwf
— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 17, 2018
Mellow over yellow
Van Avermaet may have a comfortable cushion, but the BMC Racing rider is predicting his time in the maillot jaune is coming to an end — for this year at least.
While he seized the moment to attack the main protagonists in the mountains, his brave ride is only likely to have extended his stay in yellow for 24 hours, as the Tour continues with another day for the climbers on Wednesday.
“I think this was the maximum. I went really deep today,” he told NBC Sports.
“Tomorrow is really a climber’s stage, it’s really short and it will be super hard to keep it. I have really no intention [of trying] — this was the day maybe I could keep it, but tomorrow it will be over.”
Van Avermaet may well be right, considering his exploits on stage 10, but he at least gave the leading contenders something extra to think about on the resumption of the race.
Stage 10 results
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 4:25:27
2. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Bahrain-Merida) +1:34
3. Rein Taaramae (Direct Energie) +1:40
4. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) +1:44
5. Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data)
1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) 40:34:28
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +02:22
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +03:10
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 319
2. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 218
3. Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) 132
King of the Mountains
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 41
2. Rein Taaramae (Direct Energie) 28
3. Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data) 24
Wednesday’s stage is short but not so sweet. The journey from Albertville to La Rosiere Espace San Bernardo spans just 108.5km, yet takes in the Col du Pre and the Cormet de Roselend before finishing in a popular ski resort. Will it be downhill for any of the Tour’s big guns, though?
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