Wout van Aert won stage 10 of the Tour de France on Monday as Julian Alaphilippe extended his overall lead after a blistering late charge split the peloton.
Yellow jersey wearer Alaphilippe launched the attack from 38km out, where narrow road and a crosswind created perfect conditions for the devastating attack.
Geraint Thomas and his powerful Ineos team leapt into the fray in what turned into a rampage all the way to the quaint Tarn town of Albi.
Pre-stage title pretenders Richie Porte, Thibaut Pinot, Jakob Fuglsang, Rigoberto Uran all lost 1min 40sec, while Movistar’s Mikel Landa lost over 2 minutes.
Alaphilippe leads second placed Thomas by 1min 12sec, a second Ineos rider, Egan Bernal, is at 1min 16sec, and van Aert’s teammate Steven Kruijswijk is another 11sec off in fourth.
Pinot, who started in third, dropped to 11th, 2min 33sec behind his countryman.
“We knew there was a chance of a split,” said Alaphilippe. “I have my ambitions, and we will defend this jersey every day.
Ineos boss Dave Brailsford said the stage went exactly as he had planned.
“I feel like we just scored a goal,” said Brailsford. “It’s really rare that you put that much time into so many top guys,” he said.
“This race is like no other, if you lose your attention you can end up losing major time, and that’s what happened to all those guys.”
“We saw the weather and spoke about this in the pre-race briefing,” said the Briton who has plotted six Tour de France victories from the last seven.
Nairo Quintana was all smiles too, after finishing in the mini-peloton after an exhausting long-range dash.
“I was fortunate to be aware of what was happening, I feel lucky in a way, that’s racing,” he said.
Wout Van Aert claimed his first Tour de France victory beating top sprinters drained by the high-speed run in.
For Jumbo Visma, it was the third individual stage victory this year, following Mike Teunissen and Dylan Groenewegen. The Dutch outfit also won the team time trial.
“That’s three stage wins for us so far,” said the 24-year-old multiple cyclo-cross world champion. “It was great for me and Stevie (Kruijswijk),” said van Aert, after he pipped Elia Viviani at the line.
“I came from the back with a really fast launch, I planned it that way because it’s the fastest way to finish.
The Tour reached its halfway point ahead of the first rest day Tuesday, before a flat run to Toulouse serves as a prelude to some major high-altitude racing.
Tour de France 2019 – stage 10 results (Saint-Flour – Albi):
|1||Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)|
|2||Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|3||Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)|
|4||Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)|
|5||Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|6||Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates)|
|7||Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida)|
|8||Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott)|
|9||Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)|
|10||Greg Van Avermaet (CCC)|
|11||Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|12||Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)|
|13||Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin)|
|14||Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)|
|15||Maximiliano Richeze (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|16||Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|17||Cees Bol (Team Sunweb)|
|18||Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)|
|19||Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|20||Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)|
Tour de France 2019 – general classification after stage 10:
|1||Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|2||Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)|
|3||Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)|
|4||Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)|
|5||Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|6||Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|7||Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)|
|8||Nairo Quintana (Movistar)|
|9||Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates)|
|10||Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)|
|11||Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)|
|12||Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|13||Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First)|
|14||Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)|
|15||Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)|
|16||Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)|
|17||Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic)|
|18||Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data)|
|19||Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Gobert)|
|20||Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo)|