Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) produced yet another incredible performance in this year’s Tour de France to win the 27.2km Pau time trial and extend his overall lead on Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos).
On the day the yellow jersey celebrated its 100th birthday, Alaphilippe seemed inspired and blasted his way to victory on the rolling course south of Pau. Alaphilippe set a final time of 35:00, beating Thomas by 14 seconds.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) was the fastest for much of the day with a time of 35:36 but Thomas beat him by 21 seconds, with Alaphilippe going even faster soon after to snatch victory. Alaphilippe now leads the Welshman by 1:26, with Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) third at 2:12.
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) all rode well and limited their loses to around 30 seconds to Thomas but are further back overall. Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) surprisingly suffered on the rolling course. He set a time of 36:36, losing more than a minute to Thomas.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Mikel Landa (Movistar) all lost at least a minute to Thomas and will now have to ride aggressively in the Pyrenees and Alps if they want to climb up the overall classification. On Saturday the Tour de France climbs into the heart of the Pyrenees with the 117.5km stage to the summit of the Tourmalet.
Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was challenging for the stage victory deep into his ride, but the Belgian’s Tour ended abruptly on a late corner when he caught the barriers with his right thigh and crashed hard. He suffered a deep cut in his thigh and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Alaphilippe skidded to halt beyond the finish line and shouted out to his team staff before hugging them in celebration. He then sat on a kerb as he tried to understand and recover from his stunning performance.
“I knew that I really could do a good performance on this parcours. I just gave it everything, especially in the first part which was really good for me, I went full gas and I see what I can do the line,” Alaphilippe said.
“At the end, my sport director said I was first, by ten seconds. Then I just gave everything I had, and I won the stage too. I couldn’t believe it. I'm just so happy. With a parcours like this and my shape, I just did everything that I can.”
Julian Alaphilippe is the first French rider to win a stage of the Tour de France while wearing the yellow jersey since Laurent Fignon in 1989 and he’s the first French rider to do so in a time trial since Fignon in 1984.
Prior to Friday’s stage, only one Frenchman, Christophe Moreau, had won a Tour time trial in the 21st century, and that was the prologue in Lille in 2001. The last long time trial won by a Frenchman at the Tour came all of 32 years ago when Jean-François Bernard won the 1987 test in Dijon.
Alaphilippe agreed that his time trial victory and his defence of the yellow jersey have lifted him to a new dimension.
“I think so, yes. I think to do something like I did, with my confidence, my shape and my team around me…” he said cautiously but refusing to rule out any eventuality.
“Okay, we don't have the team to win the Tour de France, we don't have a lot of climbers in Deceuninck-QuickStep for the Tour but we ride really aggressive and we try to win. I'm just so happy with what happened now.”
Geraint Thomas admitted he had suffered in the heat and accepted that Alaphilippe was now a real overall contender.
"For sure, the way he's riding. If he can keep that up, then he'll win. But it's along way to go, and there are a lot of stages to come,” Thomas said.
"I didn't really expect that. He's obviously going incredibly well, and he's certainly a favourite to watch now.”
Thomas was quick to analyse his ride.
"It was hot but it was okay, just that last bit, I didn't feel like I did it. I felt it was controlled but in the last eight kilometres or so I just felt like, when I really wanted to step on it, that I didn't have that last five per cent. It was still a decent ride but you can always pick it apart a bit,” he said.
How it happened
The riders started in reverse order in the centre of Pau, with lanterne rouge Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert) off first and race leader Alaphilippe off last on the day the Tour de France celebrated the 100th birthday of the yellow jersey.
Chad Haga (Team Sunweb) won the Giro d’Italia time trial and started fifth in Pau, clearly targeting another stage victory.
The American gave his all and caught minuteman and former world time trial champion Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) and other riders, stopping the clock in 36:22. However his time lasted less the#an 30 seconds, with Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) chasing him home and setting a time of 35:52. The Danish time champion has worked hard for his teammates every day so far in the Tour but was given a chance to ride for himself in Pau.
Asgreen sat in the hot seat for a while; watching Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) go fast, but not quite fast enough. The American set a time of 36:01.
Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was considered a favourite to win the stage and Asgreen could only watch on as he was fastest at all three time checks.
The Belgian time trial champion was enjoying a breakthrough Tour but sadly his race ended on a late corner. He caught the barriers with his right thigh and crashed hard. He suffered a deep cut in his thigh and after being treated at the roadside, he was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Earlier, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) crashed in the city streets of Pau, while later Maximiliano Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) crashed hard in the final kilometres, hurting his left knee and left wrist. He crossed the finish line but was diagnosed with three different metacarpal fractures in his left hand and was forced to quit the Tour.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) was out on the course when Van Aert crashed and did not hold back. He used his renowned high power and pacing to set the fastest time at the time checks and go onto beat by Asgreen by 16 seconds with a time of 35:36.
Other riders, including Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) rode steady and finished well down, with Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) finding the time and strength to pull a wheelie on his time trial bike as he rode the climb up to the finish.
The winners and losers among the overall contenders
The final 33 riders started a two-minute intervals to ensure there was no risk slipstreaming of or overtaking among the big-name overall contenders. The lightweight climbers all seemed to suffer on the rolling course, where power and time trial technique was vital. Thomas appeared in control and aerodynamic, using his team pursuit skills to go fast against the clock.
In contrast, Pinot was aggressive out of every turn, sacrificing aerodynamics for raw speed. Alaphilippe was a mix of both, dancing on the pedals whenever possible and clearly inspired by the roaring crowd.
Richie Porte was one of the first off in finale after Trek-Segafredo’s poor team time trial on stage 2. The Tasmanian rode well throughout the course, setting a final time of 35:45, 45 seconds slower than Alaphilippe and 31 seconds slower than Thomas. It was a morale-boosting ride but he remains out of touch overall, in 15th place at 4:44. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) also bounced back, going deep in the time trial and finishing fourth at 36 seconds.
Kruijswijk, Pinot and Mas were also within a minute of Alaphilippe, to lift them up the overall classification. Mas and especially Kruijswijk now stand out as a threat. The Dutchman is 2:12 down on Alaphilippe but only 56 seconds behind Thomas. Mas moved up to fourth overall, at 2:44, only 1:18 down on Thomas.
Bernal slipped to fifth overall at 2:52 and perhaps into a domestique role for Thomas. He also lost the best young rider’s white jersey to Mas by eight seconds. Pinot moved to eighth overall but is at 3:22, with Uran back in the top ten but at 3:54.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) simply could not produce sufficient time trial speed and so lost 1:51 to Alaphilippe, slipping to ninth at 3:55. His teammate Mikel Landa was a little faster but is still 18th overall at 6:00 after losing time in the echelons on the road to Albi. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) both lost 2:08. They are close to four minutes down overall and so will have to ride aggressively in the mountain stages ahead.
Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) arguably had the worst day of all the overall contenders, especially with fellow Frenchmen Alaphilippe and Pinot performing well.
Bardet opted to start on a road bike fitted with aero bars and then swap to a full time trial bike after 15km. It was a poor decision, with the AG2R-La Mondiale mechanic slow to bring the new bike, meaning Bardet lost at least 10 seconds. He lost 2:26 to Alaphilippe and is now 17th overall at 5:46, his podium chances surely over for this year.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:35:00|
|2||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos||0:00:14|
|3||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:00:36|
|4||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:45|
|6||Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:00:49|
|8||Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:00:52|
|9||Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:00:58|
|10||Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team||0:01:01|
|11||Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team||0:01:03|
|12||Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team||0:01:07|
|13||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:09|
|14||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||0:01:11|
|15||Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:01:19|
|16||Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb||0:01:22|
|18||Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin||0:01:25|
|19||Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First||0:01:26|
|20||Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin||0:01:31|
|21||Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin||0:01:32|
|22||Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos||0:01:36|
|23||Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida||0:01:44|
|24||Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team||0:01:45|
|25||Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:01:48|
|26||Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||0:01:49|
|27||Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||0:01:50|
|28||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||0:01:51|
|29||Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:01:53|
|30||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||0:01:54|
|31||Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb||0:02:05|
|32||Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:02:06|
|33||Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||0:02:08|
|35||Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb||0:02:13|
|36||Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:02:15|
|37||Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb||0:02:25|
|38||Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:02:26|
|40||Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert||0:02:28|
|41||Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First||0:02:31|
|42||Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:02:32|
|45||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data||0:02:39|
|46||Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:02:41|
|47||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb||0:02:45|
|48||Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||Ben King (USA) Dimension Data||0:02:50|
|50||Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:03:00|
|51||Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team||0:03:03|
|53||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Gobert||0:03:04|
|55||Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep||Row 54 - Cell 2|
|56||Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:03:08|
|57||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||0:03:09|
|58||Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb||Row 57 - Cell 2|
|59||Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||0:03:10|
|60||Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team||0:03:11|
|61||Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||0:03:13|
|62||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||0:03:14|
|63||Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||Row 62 - Cell 2|
|64||Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Ineos||0:03:21|
|65||Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:03:23|
|66||Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||0:03:24|
|67||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team||0:03:25|
|68||Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||Row 67 - Cell 2|
|69||William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:03:31|
|70||Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team||0:03:32|
|71||Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||Row 70 - Cell 2|
|72||Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:03:33|
|73||Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data||0:03:38|
|74||Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|75||Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First||0:03:41|
|76||Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 75 - Cell 2|
|77||Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:03:44|
|78||Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|79||Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:03:49|
|80||Paul Ourselin (Fra) Total Direct Energie||0:03:50|
|81||Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie||0:03:51|
|82||Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 81 - Cell 2|
|83||Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie||0:03:52|
|84||Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||0:03:53|
|85||Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data||0:03:58|
|86||Rein Taaramäe (Est) Total Direct Energie||0:03:59|
|87||Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team||0:04:01|
|88||David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:04:02|
|89||Lars Bak (Den) Dimension Data||0:04:03|