Sixth stage - In snake lines in the yellow jersey - Sport
After the first major exchange of the tour, the Italian Giulio Ciccone takes over the overall lead with a minimal lead.
At some point, the moment came when Giulio Ciccone could no longer drive straight, but only moved in snaking lines on his bike. The Italian was on the last few meters of the Vosges stage on Thursday after La Planche des Belles Filles, and these last few meters were no longer on a real road, but on a gravel road - and with gradients of up to 24 percent. It was one of those moments when it comes to the question of whether cycling is when organizers scare a peloton over such a stretch, but Ciccone, 24, could not even think about that.
He was also unable to prevent his escape partner Dylan Teuns (Belgium, Bahrain-Merida) from winning the day. And presumably he was not even able to do what was required after the finish line: counting the seconds. The seconds it took for the overall leader Julian Alaphilippe to finish. It was exactly 95 - and with that, Team Trek's Ciccone took the yellow jersey by a tiny margin of six seconds.
The first major blow of the favorites should be this sixth section of the tour across the Vosges and about seven climbs. It was then a stage in which the riders conceded quite a long time - and in which also the favored team Ineos largely withheld. Only on this inhumane passage over the gravel the group of the top drivers disintegrated, which is why it came only to manageable intervals. But a bit of explanatory power hid then already.
Last year's British champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos) proved to be the best of all the classification riders, and it would have pleased him not least that he finished nine seconds ahead of his team-mate Egan Bernal (Colombia). Because the pecking order in the team is not yet determined. Frenchman Romain Bardet (Ag2r) in turn was the big loser of the day as he lost a minute to Thomas in the final climb - two minutes back because of his bad team time trial. In between, there were a number of ambitious drivers who could be quite satisfied with their appearance, including the German Emanuel Buchmann (Bora), who finished eighth and at the same time with Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Julian Alaphilippe should have been annoyed. That the classicist would have to give up his yellow jersey, was quite likely. But rather one of the tour favorites - and not an outlier like Ciccone. But Alaphilippe's Quick-Step team made the mistake of giving a breakaway group too much head start. As it helped the French nothing, that he surprisingly almost at the same time with Geraint Thomas finished: He was six seconds late. On Friday, a flat stage to Chalon-sur-Saône is on, but on the two hilly stages at the weekend is likely to Alaphilippe will attack to bring back yellow.