Julian Alaphilippe made it look like a day in the spring Classics today, storming through the hills of Champagne on a 15-kilometer solo breakaway and taking the overall lead of the Tour de France. The Frenchman, who won three of the biggest one-day races this spring (Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo, and La Flèche Wallonne), as well as the King of the Mountains classification in last year’s Tour, burnished his reputation for panache and aggressive racing by attacking on the last of a series of four steep but minor-classification climbs that laced through rolling vineyards. Tucking into an aerodynamic position on the descent of the Côte de Mutigny and looking for every possible efficiency on roads that he had reportedly ridden multiple times in anticipation of this stage, Alaphilippe entered the town of Épernay with a gap of around a half-minute, and he ascended the unclassified climb to the finish line with plenty of time to celebrate. Having picked up a few bonus seconds on the Mutigny climb, he now leads the race overall by 20 seconds.
Wout Van Aert led home what was left of the peloton (which contained all of the contenders for overall victory) some 26 seconds later. He now leads the classification for best young rider.
Meanwhile, former overall leader Mike Teunissen saw his days in yellow come to an end. The Dutchman, whom no one had earmarked for success in either the sprints or the overall classification – but who took a surprise win on the Tour’s first stage – arrived in Épernay nearly five minutes after Alaphilippe and will now resume his duties as lead-out man for sprinter Dylan Groenewegen. The pair could see action tomorrow, when the peloton will take on just two minor climbs before a flat finish in the town of Nancy, in eastern France.
|4||Greg Van Avermaet||+00:00:26|
|9||Wout Van Aert||+00:00:26|
|2||Wout Van Aert||+00:00:20|
|6||Egan Arley Bernal Gomez||+00:00:40|
|9||Greg Van Avermaet||+00:00:51|