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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019
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Debutant Van Aert claims maiden Tour win as leader Alaphilippe sees rivals suffer

Ireland’s Dan Martin put down a good day, while Nicolas Roche was also flying the flag.

Wout Van Aert of Jumbo-Visma.
Wout Van Aert of Jumbo-Visma.

DEBUTANT WOURT VAN Aert claimed stage 10 of the Tour de France as Julian Alaphilippe saw several of his rivals for the yellow jersey lose ground on a dramatic day.

Van Aert secured his first Grand Tour stage win as he proved to have the most left in his legs at the end of a brutal 217.5-kilometre ride from Saint-Flour to Albi that featured a trio of category three climbs and one category four ascent.

He pipped Elia Viviani in a crowded sprint to the line but, while Van Aert can celebrate a career first, Alaphilippe may reflect on this stage as a decisive one if he becomes the first Frenchman to win the yellow jersey since Bernard Hinault in 1985.

After a six-man breakaway was caught with 25km to go, the peloton split, allowing Alaphilippe to get himself in the front group to build a significant advantage over those behind them. 

While Alaphilippe finished with the sprinters at the head of the race, Thibaut Pinot, Rigoberto Uran, Richie Porte and Jakob Fuglsang all came home one minute and 40 seconds off the pace.

Mikel Landa, whose cause was hindered by a mechanical issue, finished two minutes and nine seconds adrift, as did Giulio Ciccone, who had started the day only 23 seconds behind Alaphilippe.

Alaphilippe’s lead stands at one minute and 12 seconds from defending champion Geraint Thomas, whose Team INEOS colleague Egan Bernal is a further four seconds back.

Ireland’s Dan Martin is ninth in the individual rankings after finishing 25th today with a time of 4:49.39, while Nicolas Roche was 139th in 4:59.20 on stage 10 (he’s 33rd overall).

‘One centimetre is enough’

The day belonged to Van Aert, who had never competed in a race longer than seven stages prior to making his Tour debut this year but prevailed for Jumbo-Visma despite Team Sunweb getting a four-man lead out going into the final kilometre.

“I can’t believe that I’ve won a stage of the Tour de France. It’s above anything else,” Van Aert said.

“Winning at my first attempt is incredible. It became quite nervous in the finale. Luckily, we stayed at the front with Steven Kruijswijk and Dylan Groenewegen.

I went 250 metres from the finish. It was close with Viviani at the end, but one centimetre is enough as long as I won it.

After a manic Monday, Tuesday’s rest day will come as a welcome relief before a flat stage from Albi to Toulouse on Wednesday.

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