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Thomas slips back as leader stuns rivals with time trial victory

 

Julian Alaphilippe produced the time trial of his life at the Tour de France to extend his lead in the yellow jersey with victory on stage 13 in Pau
Julian Alaphilippe produced the time trial of his life at the Tour de France to extend his lead in the yellow jersey with victory on stage 13 in Pau

By Ian Parker

Julian Alaphilippe produced the time trial of his life at the Tour de France to extend his lead in the yellow jersey with victory on stage 13 in Pau.

Alaphilippe completed the lumpy 27km course in 35 minutes dead, beating second-placed Geraint Thomas by 14 seconds, to extend his lead in yellow to 86 seconds.

It was an outstanding result from the Frenchman, not a renowned time triallist, as he defied expectations that defending champion Thomas would begin to assert his authority over the race.

There remains an expectation that Alaphilippe will soon fall away from the top of the general classification, but he survived Thursday's first Pyrenean stage without time losses and has now given himself an additional cushion before today's summit finish on the Tourmalet.

While a surprise, Alaphilippe's victory in yellow was certainly fitting as the Tour celebrated the 100th birthday of the maillot jaune, first awarded to the Tour's leading rider on this day in 1919.

Thomas' failure to pick up time was not the only disappointment for Team Ineos as Egan Bernal could only manage 22nd on the stage, 96 seconds down on Alaphilippe, and so slipped from third to fifth on the general classification.

The Colombian conceded the young rider's white jersey to Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mate Enric Mas.

Less of a surprise was seeing the time trial cause a shake-up at the top of the standings, with Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates and UAE Team Emirates' Dan Martin among the losers.

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