|Tour de France - Alaphilippe defends yellow [26-07-19 08:34 by staff GoNBike.com]|
Tour de France: Heroic Alaphilippe defends yellow on first day in the Alps
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s rider was majestic, roaring back on the final descent after being pushed to the limit by the other GC contenders.
The main story of this year’s Tour de France, Julian Alaphilippe showed once again why he’s the embodiment of panache and resilience, this time on a stage containing the mythical Col d’Izoard and Col du Galibier, as well as 5200 vertical meters, a combination of factors that made for another stressful and wearing day.
Not just Julian, but also the entire Deceuninck – Quick-Step team rose to the occasion, relentlessly working at the helm of the bunch and keeping an eye on the breakaway until the tough Col de Vars, where a change of pace whittled down the peloton, leaving under 30 riders in the main group. The yellow jersey had Enric Mas with him, and the Spaniard’s presence turned out to be instrumental when Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) attacked more than two kilometers from the top of the Galibier.
Mas dully moved to the front of the reduced group and paced Alaphilippe, keeping the Colombian’s gap in check until a new series of attacks came thick and fast, and the status quo went up in smokes. Distanced and under pressure, Julian remained composed and once he crested the summit, he put in a daredevil descent, going full gas into the switchbacks and making contact with the group, thus nullifying the 20-second gap the others had opened.
Despite the fact that Bernal finished half a minute clear of the chasers, Julian – who led the chasers on the downhill – easily retained his yellow jersey in Valloir, just as heavy rain was beginning to make the descent complicated, and will wear the iconic garment for the 14th time on Friday, a beautiful reward for the determination and guts showcased on the first Alpine test.
“First and foremost, I have to thank my team, because they were amazing and did a great job protecting me. I knew it was going to be hard today and that there was a chance of losing everything, but I stayed calm and then, on the descent, I just pushed myself and took some risks, knowing that it was my chance to get back. At the end of the day, I’m very happy that I kept the maillot jaune”, said the leader of the UCI Individual Classification.
::Deceuninck – Quick-Step - Press Release::
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