Julian Alaphilippe roars to time trial glory - Tour de France

20 Juillet, 2019, 12:52 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Geraint Thomas at the Tour de France

"He's obviously going incredibly well, so he's certainly the favourite and the one to watch".

"I just wanted to keep the jersey, but to win the stage, on this form, is just totally incredible", said Alaphilippe, the 27-year-old former soldier who is sending France wild with belief they can win a first Tour since 1985.

Ineos team principal Sir Dave Brailsford has been happy to dismiss Alaphilippe's overall chances, but Thomas is beginning to take him seriously.

A hundred years on Alaphilippe is tantalising France with belief growing they can win a first Tour since 1985, when Bernard Hinault clinched his fifth Tour and who was on hand to congratulate the victor on the podium.

De Gendt was forced to slow on the corner where his compatriot was receiving attention, but the Lotto Soudal breakaway specialist underlined his strength against the clock by knocking Asgreen out of the hot seat with what would be the quickest time until Thomas - and then Alaphilippe - put on a fine show.

"I knew that I really could do a good performance on this parcours", Alaphilippe said.

World number one Alaphilippe beat Thomas by 14 seconds in the 27.2km ride to stretch his advantage over the Team Ineos leader to one minute 26 seconds.

He said: "I just gave everything, especially the first part, I went full gas".

"I held back at first and then let the horses go", he said. Alaphilippe sent him special wishes from the podium.

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"One mustn't dream", Alaphilippe said.

"If it creates suspicions, that's the way it is", he said.

"I was overheating a bit, It was that last bit that got me, in the last 8km I didn't have the power I wanted", he admitted.

Having continued to confound expectations with his punchy riding and gritty determination to stay in yellow, Alaphilippe is converting others in the peloton to the idea that he could ride up the Champs-Elysees in the lead on July 28.

A battle to the summit of the mighty Tourmalet comes on Saturday and, while Thomas claimed two mountain victories en route to winning last year's Tour, Alaphilippe has proved himself capable of protecting his 86-second lead after taking the Polka Dot jersey with two mountains wins of his own last year. "It is still going to be interesting because a lot of riders lost time".

Thomas' teammate, Egan Bernal, slipped from third to fifth overall, now 2:52 behind Alaphilippe.

The no-holds-barred performance from Alaphilippe rewarded him for taking risks on the course that proved too hard for some other riders.

Belgian Wout van Aert, a Tour rookie who won Stage 10, plowed into a roadside barrier and crashed in a right-hand curve close to the finish.

Van Aert was taken to hospital with a deep flesh wound to his right upper leg - a rotten way for the Stage 10 victor to leave his debut Tour.

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