Nice (France), August 30
A 12 months after capturing French hearts, Julian Alaphilippe claimed the Tour de France yellow jersey once more when he saved his composure to win the second stage on Sunday.
Alaphilippe, who final 12 months wore the coveted jersey for 14 days, prevailed in a three-man dash forward of Swiss Marc Hirschi and Briton Adam Yates.
Dark horse Dani Martinez, winner of the Criterium du Dauphine, misplaced three minutes 38 seconds after cracking within the final climb of the day shortly after crashing in a descent.
Martinez couldn’t maintain the sudden change of tempo when Alaphilippe broke clear within the brief ascent to the Col des Quatre Chemins earlier than being joined by Hirschi, and additional up the street by Yates.
“I wanted to try something. It was like a one-day race and it suits my profile,” Alaphilippe stated.
“It’s a big emotion because I’ve won on the Tour. I haven’t won (a race) since the start of the season. It’s great to make it. It was tough but I’m super happy to have won.” The trio opened a 20-second hole however with the peloton closing in quickly, Alaphilippe launched his triumphant dash in entrance of solely a handful of followers as Nice is on pink alert amid the COVID-19 disaster.
The Deceuninck Quick Step rider pointed his finger to the sky earlier than collapsing in tears after the road, dedicating his win to his father, who died two months in the past.
Last 12 months, Alaphilippe took the yellow jersey for the primary time after the third stage.
While he relinquished it on stage six, it was again in his possession following stage eight and, unexpectedly, he held on to it till stage 19, surrendering it solely two days earlier than the end in Paris.
“You have to respect the yellow jersey so, of course, I’m going to defend it again,” stated Alaphilippe.
Thibaut Pinot, tipped because the rider almost definitely to finish France’s 35-year watch for a home-grown winner, stated he was nervous by a again drawback after a crash on Saturday, however he had a quiet day within the bunch.
His key lieutenant David Gaudu, affected by a decrease again harm, appeared to be on the verge of abandoning the race after being dropped on the flat within the first kilometres.
Yet the Frenchman battled on and rejoined the peloton earlier than the primary climb of the day to the Col de la Colmiane (176.3km at 6.3%).
Another pre-race favorite, Tom Dumoulin, hit the bottom on the final climb after touching Michal Kwiatkowski’s rear wheel however the Dutchman appeared unharmed.
“It was a bit of a stupid fall,” stated Dumoulin. “I don’t know precisely what occurred. I regarded to the left and, at that second, Kwiatkowski handed by and earlier than I knew it I used to be mendacity on the bottom.
“Luckily I didn’t get hurt, just bumped my knee a little. I think it is okay.” Overnight chief Alexander Kristoff misplaced contact with the peloton 5 kilometres from the highest of the Col de Turini, a 14.9-km ascent at a median gradient of seven.4%, approach earlier than the motion began. Reuters