Pinot conquers Tourmalet as Alaphilippe extends Tour de France lead


Thibaut Pinot conquered Col du Tourmalet in stage 14 with Julian Alaphilippe following him across the line to extend his overall Tour de France lead.

Thomas, the defending champion, cracked on the Tour’s first encounter with a climb to above 2,000 meters, exposing unprecedented weaknesses in his team that has won six Tours in the past seven years.

The time trial on Friday and the climb up to the legendary Tourmalet pass on Saturday seemed primed for Thomas to reel in Julian Alaphilippe, the yellow jersey-holder from France who is setting the Tour alight with his punchy riding and determination to keep the race lead, filling French fans’ heads with dreams of a first homegrown winner since 1985.

But instead, Thomas has seen Alaphilippe only get further and further away. In two days, the Frenchman has put 50 seconds of extra daylight between him and the Welshman. His lead — up to 2 minutes, 2 seconds — is becoming large enough to start realistically envisioning Alaphilippe in yellow in Paris next weekend as the first French winner since Bernard Hinault.

Fueling the ecstasy of delirious crowds that lined Saturday’s steep uphill finish, Thibaut Pinot won stage 14, putting him back in the picture to fight for the podium after he lost mountains of time on Stage 10.

Thomas rightly pointed out that the Tour is far from done, with six more ascents to above 2,000 meters still to come. But his inability to stay with Pinot, Alaphilippe and other title contenders at the top of the Tourmalet — he was eighth, 36 seconds behind Pinot — was a mini-earthquake for the Tour dominated by his British team since 2012.

“Not the best day. I just didn’t feel quite on it from the start. I was quite weak,” Thomas said.

“At the end I knew I just had to pace it. I didn’t really attempt to follow when they kicked. I just thought I should ride my own pace rather than follow them and blow up on the steepest bit at the end. It’s disappointing. I just tried to limit the damage.”

Pinot, now sixth overall and 3:12 behind Alaphilippe, is showing remarkable grit in bouncing back from his Stage 10 misfortune, when he was part of a group that got separated from other title contenders in crosswinds.

“I have this rage inside me, because in my opinion it was an injustice,” said Pinot. “Since the start of the Tour I had this stage in the back of my mind. The Tourmalet, it’s mythical,” said Pinot, who has three career stage wins at the Tour.

Sunday’s 15th stage is a 185km punishing ride from Limoux, ending with a grueling ascent up to Prat d’Albis.

Tour de France 2019 – stage 14 results (Tarbes – Tourmalet):

1Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


2Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


3Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)


4Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


5Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)


6Mikel Landa (Movistar)


7Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First)


8Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)


9Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic)


10Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)


11George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma)


12Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


13Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma)


14Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo)


15David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)


16Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


17Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


18Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)


19Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)


20Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data)



Tour de France 2019 – general classification after stage 14:

1Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


2Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)


3Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)


4Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)


5Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


6Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


7Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First)


8Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)


9Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


10Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


11Mikel Landa (Movistar)


12Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo)


13Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic)


14Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


15Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)


16Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates)


17Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data)


18Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


19David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)


20Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)



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