Tour de France: Geraint Thomas up to second as Julian Alaphilippe splits peloton

Tour de France: Geraint Thomas up to second as Julian Alaphilippe splits peloton
Stage 10 winner Wout van Aert is making his debut in the Tour de France

Britain’s defending champion Geraint Thomas moved up to second in the Tour de France after a dramatic conclusion to stage 10.

Along with overall race leader Julian Alaphilippe, Thomas benefited from a late split in the peloton that caught many race rivals by surprise.

The 33-year-old had started out from Saint-Flour to Albi – the final stage before the first rest day – in fifth.

Belgian Wout van Aert edged out Elia Viviani in a thrilling sprint finish.

Speaking to ITV 4, Thomas, who is hoping to be the first rider since Miguel Indurain in 1992 to successfully defend his title as a first-time Tour winner, said: “I had a really good day in the end.

“We had a little go earlier but it was not the right conditions. We were always attentive and ready for anything.

“From our point of view we had everyone bar two guys [in the front group] so we were fully committed. There were plenty of guys turning and you could tell behind that they had gone full out [to catch up].

“They ran out of gas and the elastic snapped. You would never expect it today. But a positional error from them and they lose a minute and a half.”

The stage had passed without incident until around 40km from the end when Rigoberto Uran’s EF Education First team attempted to take advantage of the crosswinds.

However, they and a clutch of general classification (GC) contenders, including Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot and Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang, were caught out as Alaphilippe initiated a devastating counter.

Setting an unrelenting pace, Alaphilippe again lit up the race before Ineos took over to press home Thomas and his co-leader Egan Bernal’s advantage.

Britain’s Adam Yates, who moved up to eighth in the GC, and Movistar’s Colombian leader Nairo Quintana also finished in the leading group, one minute and 40 seconds in front of a chasing pack that also included Trek-Segafredo’s Richie Porte.

Bernal’s performance saw him earn the white jersey for the best young rider in the race, the pervious wearer, Italy’s Giulio Ciccone, being another to drop back overall.

The riders have a rest day on Tuesday before the race recommences on Wednesday when the Tour travels 167km from Albi to Toulouse.

Stage 10 result

1. Wout van Aert (Bel/Team Jumbo-Visma) 4hrs 49mins 39secs

2. Elia Viviani (Ita/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) same time

3. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto-Soudal) same time

4. Michael Matthews (Aus/Team Sunweb) same time

5. Peter Sagan (Svk/BORA-Hansgrohe) same time

6. Jasper Philipsen (Bel/UAE Team Emirates) same time

7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) same time

8. Matteo Trentin (Ita/Mitchelton-Scott) same time

9. Oliver Naesen (Bel/AG2R La Mondiale) same time

10. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/CCC Team) same time

General classification after stage 10

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 43hrs 27mins 15secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Ineos) +1min 12secs

3. Egan Bernal (Col/Team Ineos) +1min 16secs

4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Team Jumbo-Visma) +1min 27secs

5. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/BORA-Hansgrohe) +1min 45secs

6. Enric Mas (Spa/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +1min 46secs

7. Adam Yates (GB/ Mitchelton-Scott) +1min 47secs

8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar Team) +2mins 04secs

9. Daniel Martin (Ire/Team Emirates) +2mins 09secs

10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +2mins 33secs

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