French duo boosts home country's hopes at Tour de France
French duo boosts home country's hopes at Tour de France
Kiwi George Bennett remains fourth at Tour de France as local hopes boosted
14 July, 2019, 17:00
He knew he had a golden chance to get it back on rollercoaster terrain, which suited his skills.
Alaphilippe will be the first Frenchman to wear the yellow jersey on Bastille Day since Tony Gallopin in 2014.
Belgian Thomas De Gendt won the 200-km hilly stage from Macon from a breakaway, ahead of Pinot, the only rider able to follow Alaphilippe's brutal attack on the last climb with about 13 kilometres left.
With bonus seconds at play at the summit of the final categorized climb, the Cote de la Jaillere, Alaphilippe surged from a small pack of favourites near the top, with Pinot on his wheel.
"Tomorrow is a very special day for the French people, and for me too", said the 27-year-old former soldier Alaphilippe. "I'm fine, but it's just frustrating - obviously it was a key moment in the race, ' said Thomas, who emerged from the incident largely unscathed but for the odd graze on his arm". I got tangled in Gianni's bike and took some time to get going.
"It's annoying, but at the same time, to come back like I did shows I had good legs".
Thomas is fifth overall, now one minute and 12 seconds behind Alaphilippe.
Luckily for the reigning champion, Thomas had plenty of domestiques who still had functioning bikes to pace him back to the bunch once again, where he rejoined Egan Bernal in the front ten riders by the time they crossed the line.
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Thomas was involved in another crash during the opening stage last week in Belgium. Then with 16km of the stage remaining he was unable to get out of the way of a crash caused by his team mate Gianni Moscon coming into contact with Michael Woods (EF Education First). Woods later rode in with torn shorts.
Thomas De Gendt celebrates his incredible stage win.
"My career goal was to win the Giro di Lombardia and stages at all three Grands Tour", said Pinot, who won the Italian one-day classic race past year.
New Zealand's George Bennett of Team Jumbo-Visma occupies fourth spot.
"We chose to ride to give me a shot at the stage and I think we did a really good job", he said.
"There is pressure obviously but the biggest pressure is the one I put on myself", said Pinot, who abandoned the race in 2016 and 2017 and did not take part previous year after failing to fully recover from a bout of pneumonia sustained near the end of the Giro d'Italia.
"The good thing is I had good legs to be able to (catch up)", he said. A day after his long and unsuccessful breakaway in Burgundy, Frenchman Yoann Offredo struggled with an intestinal bug at the back while pure sprinters including Dylan Groenewegen and Caleb Ewan went through a day of suffering, just making sure they reached the finish within the delays.
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