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Aert wins stage 10; Alaphilippe extends overall lead

AFP/Albi
Filed on July 16, 2019
Aert wins stage 10; Alaphilippe extends overall lead
Team Jumbo-Visma rider Wout Van Aert of Belgium celebrates after winning the 10th stage stage. - Reuters

Defending champion Geraint Thomas and his powerful Ineos team leapt into the fray in what turned into a rampage all the way to the quaint Tarn town of Albi.

Dutch rookie Wout van Aert won stage 10 of the Tour de France on Monday as Julian Alaphilippe extended his overall lead after a blistering late charge split the peloton.

Yellow jersey wearer Alaphilippe launched the attack from 38-km out, where narrow road and a crosswind created perfect conditions for the devastating attack.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas and his powerful Ineos team leapt into the fray in what turned into a rampage all the way to the quaint Tarn town of Albi.

Pre-stage title pretenders Richie Porte, Thibaut Pinot, Jakob Fuglsang, Rigoberto Uran all lost 1min 40sec, while Movistar's Mikel Landa lost over 2 minutes.

Frenchman Alaphilippe leads second placed Thomas by 1min 12sec, a second Ineos rider, Egan Bernal, is at 1min 16sec, and van Aert's teammate Steven Kruijswijk is another 11sec off in fourth.

Pinot, who started in third, dropped to 11th, 2min 33sec behind his countryman.

"We knew there was a chance of a split," said the 27-year-old former soldier Alaphilippe.

"I have my ambitions, and we will defend this jersey every day.

Ineos boss Dave Brailsford said the stage went exactly as he had planned.

"I feel like we just scored a goal," said Brailsford.

"It's really rare that you out that much time into some many top guys," he said.

"This race is like no other, if you lose your attention you can end up losing major time, and that's what happened to all those guys."

"We saw the weather and spoke about this in the pre-race briefing," said the Briton who has plotted six Tour de France victories from the last seven.

Thomas, the 2018 champion looked was like the cat that got the cream.

"It was just a positioning error from them and they lose a minute and a half. That's how it goes," he explained.

The 22-year-old Bernal takes the best young rider's white jersey.

"It was wild, but that's the Tour, every day is super-hard here and anything can happen," said the slightly built Bernal, who proved again here he can keep up with the burly riders who do well in crosswinds.

Nairo Quintana of Movistar was all smiles too, after finishing in the mini-peloton after an exhausting long-range dash.

"I was fortunate to be aware of what was happening, I feel lucky in a way, that's racing," said Quintana.

Jumbo Visma's Dutch stage winner van Aert claimed his first Tour de France victory beating top sprinters drained by the high-speed run in.

On his debut Tour, van Aert, who won two stages on the Criterium du Dauphine after converting from cyclo-cross, is the latest break out star on an unpredictable 2019 Tour.

"That's three stage wins for us so far," said the 24-year-old multiple cyclo-cross world champion.

"It was great for me and Stevie (Kruijswijk)," said van Aert, after he pipped Elia Viviani at the line.

"I came from the back with a really fast launch, I planned it that way because it's the fastest way to finish.

Slovak star Peter Sagan, the best-paid rider in the peloton at 4 million euros ($4.51 million) per season, won in Albi six years ago but finished sixth on Monday.

On a 217.5km run that embarked from the breathtaking vantage point of the citadel of Saint Flour, it was the crosswinds rather than the three hills that blew away the chances of stage 10's many losers.

The Tour reached its halfway point ahead of the first rest day Tuesday, before a flat run to Toulouse serves as a prelude to some major high-altitude racing.

UAE Team Emirates'

Philipsen impresses

UAE Team Emirates' Jasper Philipsen secured a top 10 finish on stage 10 of the Tour de France after a thrilling sprint finish in the French town of Albi.

The relentless pace kept going till the finish line, with Jasper Philipsen showing his potential to compete with some of cycling's top sprinters. Philipsen was sixth.

It was also a positive result for UAE Team Emirates' General Classification (GC) hopeful, Dan Martin. Working closely with Sven Erik BystrÝm to get through the echelons, the Irishman finished with the head group and gained time on some riders in the overall standings. He now breaks into the GC top 10 - 2"09 behind leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick Step).

Commenting on the finish, Philipsen said: "Sven helped me in the sprint to put me in a good position, but it was difficult to break into the trains of the other teams. I was a little bit far behind and they launched the sprint from far back, but I was just missing that bit of power to be that little bit closer."

Dan Martin added: "Even from the first kilometre it was stressful. Everybody knew with the wind it was dangerous and when you have over 200km when it can happen at any moment, you always need a bit of good luck to be in the front. I was always in the top-20 and it was a fight to be there. When Deceuninck and Ineos made the move, Sven came up to me and worked in the wind and brought me to the front. Jasper was there too which was perfect for the sprint. Anything can happen on any day of the Tour and today for us was a good day. We were really focused to make the splits so it's a really nice way to go into the rest day."





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