De Gendt wins in Saint-Etienne, Alaphilippe back in yellow

Paola Ditto
Июля 14, 2019

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.

Saturday's stage was a notable success for FDJ captain Pinot, who was ecstatic after climbing to third in the overall standings behind Alaphilippe and Ciccone.

Defending champ Geraint Thomas of Wales survived a spectacular crash 15 kilometres from the finish and crossed the line 20 seconds behind Alaphilippe. Pinot, meanwhile, picked up 28 seconds - including bonuses - on his general classification rivals to become the best placed of the main contenders.

Julian Alaphilippe kisses the overall leader's yellow jersey after stage eight. He knew he had a golden chance to get it back on rollercoaster terrain suiting his skills.

Thomas De Gendt celebrates his incredible stage win.

Alaphilippe has erased his six-second deficit from the Italian debutant Giulio Ciccone. 'Woods crashed, and just took out Gianni and me.

"I was trying to catch my bike because one policeman took my bike away so it was very hard to get back on the bike".

Alaphilippe and Pinot launched their move on the final climb but could not reel him in. "It's annoying and frustrating but to come back like I did is good".

Echoing former teammate Porte, Thomas highlighted the threat that the French pair pose heading into the second week.

"Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphillipe have a good kick and punch - they are the guys to watch and beat", he said.

This time, he said he was taken out by Michael Woods when the Canadian rider crashed going around a right-hand bend.

The last French rider to be in yellow for Bastille Day fireworks was Tony Gallopin in 2014.

New Zealand's George Bennett of Team Jumbo-Visma occupies fourth spot.

"We made a decision to ride to give me a shot at the stage and I think we did a really good job", he said.

"The [general classification] teams took over midway through the day and tried to help and bring the break back ... we started pulling straight away to bring back the three guys ahead but unfortunately we fell just short".

"It was a fantastic finale, it was lovely to go together like this and we showed that we can work together even if we're in different teams", said Alaphilippe, whose move was highly expected as bonus seconds were up for grabs in the ascent to the Cote de la Jaillere and at the finish.

It was breakaway specialist De Gendt's second stage victory on the Tour after the Lotto Soudal rider prevailed at the top of the iconic Mont Ventoux in 2016.

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