Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe kept the Tour de France’s overall lead on Wednesday and said he was ‘ready for the Alps’ after the 200km run to Gap on stage 17, won by Italian Matteo Trentin. Alaphilippe has four riders within 2:02 of his advantage as the Tour goes into three huge Alpine stages with defending champion Geraint Thomas at 1:35 behind him in one of the most open races in years.
In his yellow jersey for a 13th day, the world number one looked relaxed after the balmy run from the Camargue into the town of Gap, surrounded by the daunting mountain peaks which lie in wait for the peloton.
“It was a peaceful day, it did me good, we reserved energy in this dreadful heat,” said Alaphilippe.
“I’m ready for the Alps,” added the 27-year-old former soldier.
“But I need to detach myself from all this going on around me,” he said.
“My legs are tired, but in my mind I have never felt better,” he added.
|2||ASGREEN Kasper||Deceuninck – Quick Step||0:37|
|3||VAN AVERMAET Greg||CCC Team||0:41|
|4||MOLLEMA Bauke||Trek – Segafredo||,,|
|5||TEUNS Dylan||Bahrain Merida||,,|
|6||IZAGIRRE Gorka||Astana Pro Team||,,|
|7||OSS Daniel||BORA – hansgrohe||0:44|
|8||PÉRICHON Pierre-Luc||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||0:50|
|9||SKUJIŅŠ Toms||Trek – Segafredo||,,|
|10||HERRADA Jesús||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||0:55|
Check out www.roadbikeaction.com for full 2019 Tour de France stage recaps.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini