Alaphilippe celebrates Tour de France yellow jersey centenary with surprise time-trial win
Julian Alaphilippe fittingly marked the 100th anniversary of the yellow jersey by increasing his Tour de France lead with a magnificent individual time-trial stage win in Pau.
Defending champion Geraint Thomas was well fancied to take over as leader of the general classification on Friday, but Alaphilippe made another statement by securing his second stage win of the race with a blistering ride over the 27.2-kilometre course.
The Frenchman was 14 seconds quicker than nearest rival Thomas on a hot day in his homeland and leads the Team INEOS rider by a minute and 26 seconds after stage 13.
Deceuninck-Quick Step's Alaphilippe, roared on by a partisan crowd, was quicker than Thomas after every split and had enough in the tank to storm up a final climb for another victory.
Julian Alaphilippe gave everything he had to win the stage and keep the Yellow Jersey! @alafpolak1 a tout donné pour remporter l’étape et consolider son Maillot Jaune ! #TDF2019pic.twitter.com/nKpTK1UaXD— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 19, 2019
Alaphilippe said: "It's incredible. I'm really happy. Without being pretentious, I knew I could do a good performance on such a course, I told my cousin Franck this morning that I'd do something good but I didn't think I could win the stage, especially with such a big gap against Geraint Thomas.
"The first part suited me but I surprised myself in the second part of the race. I pushed my limits. With the help of the public, I gave everything until the line. I heard that even in my team car they all cried."
Steven Kruijswijk and Enric Mas moved above Thomas' team-mate Egan Bernal into third and fourth place respectively in the general classification standings, with 2:12 and 2:44 to make up on Alaphilippe.
Wout van Aert had to abandon the race four days after winning stage 10, the Belgian taken to hospital after crashing when he appeared to get his handlebars caught on advertising haudings draped over barriers at a right turn.
Team Jumbo-Visma revealed the 24-year-old suffered a flesh wound to his right leg, bringing a premature end to his race.
Rohan Dennis had been well fancied to win the time trial, but the Team Bahrain Merida rider mysteriously pulled out during the 12th stage, offering no explanation but stating that he had made the right decision.
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 0:35.00
2. Geraint Thomas (INEOS) +0:14
3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) +0:36
4. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +0:36
5. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) +0:45
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 53:01:09
2. Geraint Thomas (INEOS) +1:26
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Team Jumbo-Visma ) +2:12
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 277
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) 191
2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 184
King of the Mountains
1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 54
2. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 37
3. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 30
The climbers should be licking their lips at the prospect of a 117,5km mountainous stage from Tarbes to Tourmalet Bareges in the Pyrenees on Saturday, with a first high-altitude finish of this year's race.