The 2019 Tour de France almost reached the midway mark of the 21-stage race. Belgium’s Wout van Aert won a breakaway sprint to emerge as the victor in Stage 10 (217.5 km race from St. Flour to Albi). France’s Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) retains the lead and the yellow jersey, but defending champ Geraint Thomas (Ineos) is not far behind in second place.

Julian Alaphilippe
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) wins his first yellow jersey after Stage 3 of the 2019 Tour de France. (Image: Rueters)

Thomas trails by only 1:12. His Ineos’ teammate, Bernal Gomez, is only four seconds behind and 1:16 back of Alaphilippe.

Alaphilippe, known for his climbing skills, has an overall time of 43 hours, 27 minutes and 15 seconds. Only six riders are within two minutes of the overall lead.

2019 TOUR DE FRANCE – TOP 5 STANDINGS:
Julian Alaphilippe (France)
Geraint Thomas (UK) + 1:12
Egan Bernal (Colombia) + 1:16
Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands) +1:27
Emanuel Buchmann (Germany) +1:45

Thomas and Bernal are co-captains this year for Team Ineos and both were favorites coming into this year’s race. Both of them jumped several spots and passed Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, Italy’s Giulio Ciccone, and New Zealand’s George Bennett.

Thomas and Bernal also shaved off 1:39 and ahead of the peloton that included France’s Thibaut Pinot, Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang, Aussie Richie Porte. The trio of riders and major threats to Thomas/Bernal were trapped in the peloton.

“That’s just great,” said defending champion Thomas. “It was just a positioning error from them and they lose a minute and a half. That’s how it goes.”

After South Africa’s Daryl Impey won Stage 9 from Saint-Etienne to Bruioude, Thomas and Bernal were in fifth and sixth place at the start of Stage 10. By the finish line, they jumped to second and third respectively.

Yellow Julian

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe won stage 3 and snatched the yellow jersey for the first time. He held onto it for a couple of stages until Italy’s Giulio Ciccone grabbed the lead after Stage 6 in Mulhouse.

2019 STAGE WINNERS:
1. Mike Teunissen (Netherlands)
2. Team Time Trial: Jumbo-Visma
3. Julian Alaphilippe (France)
4. Elia Viviani (Italy)
5. Peter Sagan (Russia)
6. Dylan Tenus (Belgium)
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Netherlands)
8. Thomas De Gendt (Belgium)
9. Daryl Impey (South Africa)
10. Wout van Aert (Belgium)

Thomas De Gendt put on a clinic with a lesson in sheer power. The Belgian smoked the field, including Julian Alaphilippe, in Stage 8’s victory in Macon to Saint Etienne.

“I had a really good feeling all day, so I believed in the victory,” De Gendt told the press corps.

Alaphilippe regained the yellow jersey after 170 km ride in Stage 9 and retained it after the 217.5 km ride in Stage 10.

Stage 11 will be a 167 km ride from Albi to Toulouse. Alaphilippe will try to fend off both big dogs at Ineos including the defending champion Thomas.

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