Tour de France 2019: Giulio Ciccone snatches yellow jersey off Julian Alaphilippe as Dylan Teuns wins stage six

France: Defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas defied his doubters Thursday as Belgian Dylan Teuns received stage six and his breakaway accomplice Giulio Ciccone snatched the yellow jersey by only a few seconds on an iconic mountain stage.

Giulio Ciccone celebrates on the rostrum after sporting the yellow jersey. Reuters

Teuns received the ultra-tough mountain stage to Planche des Belles Filles when he and Ciccone crossed the summit end line as the only survivors of a mass breakaway.

“It was so steep, but I love these kind of finishes. It was a good big breakaway group. That helped keep us out ahead, five of us were Belgians too,” mentioned Teuns.

“When it came down to the two of us, we stayed calm, we talked about it,” mentioned the winner, hinting the pair did a deal for a win-win as a substitute of risking all of it by not collaborating.

Ciccone was much less calm about his feat. “It’s just unbelievable,” mentioned the Italian after taking the general lead from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe by simply six seconds.

Alaphilippe put in a heroic defence of his lead, however missed out as a result of bonus seconds over the ultimate two summits noticed the younger Italian edge forward of him.

“It feels strange, to have the yellow jersey on my back feels so strange.” mentioned Ciccone.

“I wanted to win the stage for the team but I never believed it would be possible to take the lead,” mentioned the 24-year-old who rides for a similar Trek-Segafredo crew as Richie Porte.

Thomas thrives the place Froome shone

The stage ended up as a battle not just for the stage and the general lead however for the psychological management of the race.

This was the 2019 Tour’s first foray into the mountains a stage that the defending champion, Welshman Geraint Thomas, had described as ‘the massive day’.

Chris Froome received the primary ever end right here in 2012 to substantiate his potential earlier than he went on to win the 2013 Tour, and Thomas should have sensed one thing particular.

Just behind the breakaway pair, Thomas gave meals for thought to those that had known as him a one-hit surprise after his 2018 win, who raised eyebrows when he misplaced just a few seconds on a climb at Epernay earlier within the week and who had tipped Ineos team-mate Egan Bernal.

“I don’t listen to tips. I felt pretty good. I thought it would be more of a solid day. I was feeling good but I was unsure. I thought the steep climbs weren’t my cup of tea,” mentioned Thomas.

Thomas and Bernal, who dropped 9 seconds to the Welshman, had been a part of a formidable Ineos crew effort that managed the tempo over the many of the course because the peloton crossed seven mountains.

Thomas waited till first Mikel Landa, then Thibaut Pinot and, lastly, the in a single day chief Alaphilippe himself had attacked earlier than exhibiting his type was again after a nasty fall within the Tour de Suisse in June.

“It’s one of those climbs where you really have to be patient,” the 33-year-old Thomas mentioned after the mud had settled.

Other good performances on the day got here from Briton Adam Yates, Irishman Dan Martin and Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who grew up within the area.

Three of the general contenders misplaced vital time as 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali, Jumbo Visma captain Steven Kruijswijk and, to a better extent, Frenchman Romain Bardet suffered on the slopes.

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