Le Grand-Bornand, France: Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe turned on the style to secure his maiden Tour de France stage win on Tuesday as Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet stubbornly held on to the yellow jersey.
Alaphilippe, of the Quick Step team, launched an audacious lone attack on the third and penultimate climb and went on to solo over the finish several minutes ahead of the main peloton after a first day in the Alps marked by a yellow jersey truce.
Expected to challenge overnight leader Van Avermaet for the right to wear the race’s fabled tunic into Wednesday’s 11th stage, the Sky team of champion Chris Froome failed to muster a challenge despite their best-placed rider, Geraint Thomas, sitting only 43secs behind the Belgian in the overall standings.
Van Avermaet, who is not a specialist climber, appeared under threat at the beginning of the 158.5-km race from Annecy featuring four categorised climbs and with a downhill finish into Le Grand Bornand.
But the wily BMC rider exceeded expectations, joining an early breakaway that went on to build a healthy lead on the main peloton to stymie whatever plans Sky may have had of taking control of the race.
In the end, Van Avermaet produced a fantastic performance to finish 1min 43secs behind Alaphilippe, Thomas, Froome and Team Sky trailing over the finish over three minutes behind the stage winner.
In the overall standings Van Avermaet now leads Thomas, in second, by 2:22, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) now up to third overall at 3:10.
Froome, who is bidding for his fourth consecutive Grand Tour win and fifth overall, is up to sixth place at 3:21.
The 11th stage, held over 108.5 km between Albertville and La Rosiere, features the first summit finish of the race.
The third and final day in the Alps is on Thursday when sparks are expected to fly on the 14-km climb, over 21 hairpin bends, to the summit of Alpe d’Huez. — AFP
Results from Stage 10
Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand, 158.5 km
Stage winners: 1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Quick-Step Floors 4:25:27, 2. Ion Izagirre (ESP) Bahrain – Merida +1:34, 3. Rein Taaramäe (EST) Direct Energie +1:40, 4. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) BMC Racing Team +1:44, 5. Serge Pauwels (BEL) Team Dimension Data “, 6. Lilian Calmejane (FRA) Direct Energie +2:24, 7. Daniel Martin (IRL) UAE Team Emirates +3:23, 8. Primož Roglic (SLO) Team LottoNL – Jumbo “, 9. David Gaudu (FRA) Groupama – FDJ “, 10. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Team Sky “, 11. Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale “, 12. Steven Kruijswijk (NED) Team LottoNL – Jumbo “ 13. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton – Scott “ 14. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana Pro Team “ 15. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky “ 16. Tom Dumoulin (NED) Team Sunweb “ 17. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team “ 18. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team “ 19. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Bahrain – Merida “ 20. Mikel Landa (ESP) Movistar Team “
Overall leaders 1. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) BMC Racing Team 40:34:28 2. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Team Sky +2:22 3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team +3:10 4. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana Pro Team +3:12 5. Bob Jungels (LUX) Quick-Step Floors +3:20 6. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky +3:21 7. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton – Scott “ 8. Mikel Landa (ESP) Movistar Team “ 9. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Bahrain – Merida +3:27 10. Primož Roglic (SLO) Team LottoNL – Jumbo +3:36 11. Tom Dumoulin (NED) Team Sunweb +3:42 12. Steven Kruijswijk (NED) Team LottoNL – Jumbo +3:45 13. Rafal Majka (POL) BORA – hansgrohe +4:02 14. Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale +4:11 15. Bauke Mollema (NED) Trek – Segafredo +4:28 16. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team +4:29