Tour de France: Julian Alaphilippe thrilled, Geraint Thomas weakens
Scene of the tour: Julian Alaphilippe came to a halt with a drift of his rear wheel and hugged his team boss. The Frenchman sensationally won the individual time trial in Pau on the 13th stage and surprisingly extended his lead in the overall standings. Thanks to this success, the French fans can continue to dream of a home victory of their favorite.
Classification of the tour: After Caleb Ewan's second victory in the mass sprint on the 16th stage in Nîmes, the overall classification has hardly changed. Alaphilippe wears the yellow jersey in the Alps. Last year's winner Geraint Thomas is 01:35 minutes behind, after him romping favorites on the overall victory as Egan Bernal or Thibaut Pinot with a few seconds behind. The green jersey carries Peter Sagan safely on the shoulders, the Belgian Tim Wellens could lose the mountain jersey in the Alps.
Hope in yellow: Since Bernard Hinault in 1985, no Frenchman has won the Tour de France. Clear that Alaphilippe stirs hopes for a home win. The 27-year-old already wore the yellow jersey on eleven stages, and that's what Bernard Hinault did last time. The hearts of the fans fly Loulou, as Alaphilippe is affectionately known, not only for his success, but also for his passionate and unpredictable driving style. It is so unlike the watters of the former tour dominators of Team Ineos.
Stuttering engine: Speaking of Ineos, the machine stutters. Six of the past seven tours of France have won the British. When Bradley Wiggins, Christopher Froome or Geraint Thomas drove the yellow jersey to Paris, they always wore it at the latest on the 14th stage. This year things are different: Thomas was weakening in the Pyrenees, his team did not seem as strong as in previous years. This makes the tour this year as exciting as it is rare in this millennium.
Comeback: Not only Alaphilippe thrilled the French, but also Thibaut Pinot. The co-favorite on the overall victory had lost on the 10th stage to Albis by a lack of concentration on a wind edge several seconds. But the 29-year-old drove spectacularly to victory on Tourmalet and brought with a strong attack on the last Pyrenees stage again in a good starting position in the overall standings. Whether his power will reach in the Alps is open.
Team Trouble: When Nairo Quintana drove his first Tour de France in 2013 and jumped to second place right away, he was long-time traded as a future tour winner. But until today, this prophecy has not been fulfilled. Movistar always chooses questionable tactics, competes with strong riders like Quintana, world champion Alejando Valverde or Mikel Landa, but can not commit to a captain. Therefore there was also trouble, because Quintana could not keep up with the Tourmalet, although the team pushed the pace for him. "It was disappointing because Nairo was not at the level he should have been," said Valverde.
Quiet good: Emanuel Buchmann, captain of Bora-Hansgrohe, is the German star of the tour. Unobtrusively drove the 26-year-old with the favorites, remained calm and then provided strong results in the Pyrenees. At Tourmalet he even attacked from the favorite group and distanced Geraint Thomas. The Ravensburger is in sixth place overall, only 2:14 minutes behind Alaphilippe. Nevertheless, Buchmann remains relaxed and calm, the top ten are still the target, he said. Team mate Gregor Mühlberger was more euphoric: "You can definitely win the Tour de France with him and I think he's the next big German star."
Stage kings: Four of the first ten stages were won by the Dutch team Jumbo-Visma, three of them sprint stages with different winners and the team time trial, where especially specialist Tony Martin set the pace.
Given up: Jumbo Visma will be one of the most successful teams on the tour until Paris. However, with Wout van Aert already a driver had to give up the tour after a serious crash. After catching fellow favorite Jakob Fuglsang on the 16th stage in Nîmes, so far 14 drivers have dropped out prematurely, including German champions Maximilian Schachmann. But that's still very little compared to previous years.
What's happening now? Two tour weeks are over, in the third it comes to the decision. For the route planners have come up with a difficult final. In the Alps four monsters wait: On Thursday with the Col d'Izoard and the legendary Galibier two mountains of the highest category, on Friday follows from the same category of the Col de l'Iseran, on Saturday the tour must have a mountain arrival over 33, Drive 4 kilometers up to Val Thorens. Anyone who wears the yellow jersey here will wear it to Paris on Sunday.