Thomas extends Tour de France lead with Alpe d'Huez win

Tyler Owen
July 28, 2018

He came home over an hour after stage victor and yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas, missing the time cut and suffering elimination from the race as a result.

"I imagined winning it because it was a huge objective for me, but to win it like that, all alone.", Alaphilippe said. "It was the only way to keep the jersey and I'm very happy with my stage".

On Monday's rest day, 2012 Tour victor Sir Bradley Wiggins had suggested his old team would "have a real problem on their hands" if Thomas took yellow ahead of Froome - who is 59 seconds back on his team-mate in sixth place. Defending champion Froome was left sixth overall at 3:21 behind.

Alaphilippe, a French rider for Quick-Step, won the 158.5-kilometre ride from Lake Annecy that included climbs over four major Alpine passes before a descent to Le Grand-Bornand in about 4 1/2 hours. The Belgian is excellent in rolling terrain and single-day classics but not a top climber.

Van Avermaet's BMC team lost leader Richie Porte when he broke his collarbone on Sunday.

Precedent also pointed to a move by Sky.

But Wiggins said that team principal Sir Dave Brailsford would be "in the ears" of both riders telling them they can win the Tour.

It appears Sky was biding its time.

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"We were expecting that", said the Welshman, who had been just three seconds off yellow for much of last week. "Other people are probably also thinking about these next hard days coming up", said Froome. "For us it's fantastic to have different cards to play".

"I'm really happy to extend it by one day but I would say my chances for tomorrow are zero".

Alaphilippe attacked on the third climb of the leg and finished more than a minute ahead of Jon Izaguirre in second.

Froome had dramas of his own on the day when he suffered a puncture on the gravel section at the top of the Montee du plateau des Glieres.

Cycling - Tour de France - The 156.5-km Stage 9 from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix - July 15, 2018 - BORA-Hansgrohe rider Rafal Majka of Poland and Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain in action. "It was a little bit of a comedy of errors going on there".

Though Sky have reiterated that Froome remains the team leader, Thomas has so far been given licence to race for himself and 2012 victor Wiggins feels it could cause trouble.

Earlier, Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten won the women's La Course for a second year in a row.

Though the sight of Sky massed on the front of the peloton most of the day was not one to excite fans, Thomas delivered the stage win with panache.

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