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):

1 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


2 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


3 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)


4 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


5 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)


6 Mikel Landa (Movistar)


7 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First)


8 Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)


9 Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic)


10 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)


11 George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma)


12 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


13 Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma)


14 Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo)


15 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)


16 Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


17 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


18 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)


19 Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)


20 Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data)



Tour de France 2019 – general classification after stage 14:

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


2 Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)


3 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)


4 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)


5 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


6 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


7 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First)


8 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)


9 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


10 Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


11 Mikel Landa (Movistar)


12 Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo)


13 Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic)


14 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


15 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)


16 Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates)


17 Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data)


18 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


19 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)


20 Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)



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