Wout Van Aert Wins Wind Whipped Stage 10

Dutch rookie Wout van Aert won stage 10 of the Tour de France on Monday as Julian Alaphilippe extended his overall lead after a blistering late charge split the peloton.

Yellow jersey wearer Alaphilippe launched the attack from 38km out, where narrow road and a crosswind created perfect conditions for the devastating attack.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas and his powerful Ineos team leapt into the fray in what turned into a rampage all the way to the quaint Tarn town of Albi.

Pre-stage title pretenders Richie Porte, Thibaut Pinot, Jakob Fuglsang, Rigoberto Uran all lost 1min 40sec, while Movistar's Mikel Landa lost over 2 minutes.

Frenchman Alaphilippe leads second placed Thomas by 1min 12sec, a second Ineos rider, Egan Bernal, is at 1min 16sec, and van Aert's teammate Steven Kruijswijk is another 11sec off in fourth.

Pinot, who started in third, dropped to 11th, 2min 33sec behind his countryman.

"We knew there was a chance of a split," said the 27-year-old former soldier Alaphilippe.

"I have my ambitions, and we will defend this jersey every day.


Ineos Plan Pays Off

Ineos boss Dave Brailsford said the stage went exactly as he had planned.

"I feel like we just scored a goal," said Brailsford.

"It's really rare that you out that much time into some many top guys," he said.

"This race is like no other, if you lose your attention you can end up losing major time, and that's what happened to all those guys."

"We saw the weather and spoke about this in the pre-race briefing," said the Briton who has plotted six Tour de France victories from the last seven.

Thomas, the 2018 champion looked was like the cat that got the cream.

"It was just a positioning error from them and they lose a minute and a half. That's how it goes," he explained.

The 22-year-old Bernal takes the best young rider's white jersey.

"It was wild, but that's the Tour, every day is super-hard here and anything can happen," said the slightly built Bernal, who proved again here he can keep up with the burly riders who do well in crosswinds.

Nairo Quintana of Movistar was all smiles too, after finishing in the mini-peloton after an exhausting long-range dash.

"I was fortunate to be aware of what was happening, I feel lucky in a way, that's racing," said Quintana.


From Cyclocross To Crosswind

Jumbo Visma's Dutch stage winner van Aert claimed his first Tour de France victory beating top sprinters drained by the high-speed run in.

On his debut Tour, van Aert, who won two stages on the Criterium du Dauphine after converting from cyclo-cross, is the latest break out star on an unpredictable 2019 Tour.

"That's three stage wins for us so far," said the 24-year-old multiple cyclo-cross world champion.

"It was great for me and Stevie (Kruijswijk)," said van Aert, after he pipped Elia Viviani at the line.

"I came from the back with a really fast launch, I planned it that way because it's the fastest way to finish.

Slovak star Peter Sagan, the best-paid rider in the peloton at 4 million euros ($4.51 million) per season, won in Albi six years ago but finished sixth on Monday.

On a 217.5km run that embarked from the breathtaking vantage point of the citadel of Saint Flour, it was the crosswinds rather than the three hills that blew away the chances of stage 10's many losers.

The Tour reached its halfway point ahead of the first rest day Tuesday, before a flat run to Toulouse serves as a prelude to some major high-altitude racing.

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