Belfast Telegraph

Yates doubles up as Alaphilippe begins to falter

 

Simon Yates
Simon Yates

by ian parker

Simon Yates soloed to his second Tour de France victory of the week on stage 15 to the Prat d'Albis as the first cracks appeared in Julian Alaphilippe to bring the battle for the yellow jersey alive.

Mitchelton-Scott's Yates attacked with 8.7km left of the steep climb above Foix to follow up his victory on Thursday's stage 12 to Bagneres-de-Bigorre.

Behind, Groupama-FDJ's Thibaut Pinot attacked the reduced group of favourites and distanced Geraint Thomas, though the Welshman put in a late dig of his own to ensure he remained above the Frenchman in the general classification.

Alaphilippe finally showed the signs of weakness which have been expected from a rider never considered a contender before the Tour began - but who will enjoy an 11th day in yellow tomorrow.

The belief that Alaphilippe is to be discounted overall now grows and the Tour will resume after today's rest day with only 39 seconds separating Thomas in second and Emanuel Buchmann in sixth.

Afterwards, Thomas said he felt much better than he did on the Tourmalet a day earlier, but chose not to attack at the end as he did not want to help rivals catch team-mate Egan Bernal.

"I felt better than yesterday but I needed to try to pace it when it all kicked off," he said. "It's a difficult one - I wanted to go, had the legs to go but I wasn't going to chase Egan Bernal with Alaphilippe on my wheel."

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