• Julian Alaphilippe crests the small rise to the finish of Stage 10. (Getty)Source: Getty
Race leader Greg van Avermaet put in a sterling performance in the high mountains to defend yellow as Julian Alaphilippe took victory in Stage 10.
By
Cycling Central

18 Jul 2018 - 2:28 AM  UPDATED 18 Jul 2018 - 5:02 AM

Featuring five climbs before a downhill finish, the stage was defined by the yellow jersey Greg van Avermaet (BMC) again having a good day in the saddle defending his position with a determined ride over his unfavoured terrain which earned him the jury award as the most aggressive rider of the day.

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) claimed a stirring stage win and the polka dot jersey with a ride demonstrating true grit to finish ahead of Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) and Rein Taaramae (Direct Energie).

"I came close to winning a stage at my debut two years ago and I know it's not easy to get a stage in the Tour de France, that's why I am overwhelmed with emotion," said Alaphilippe.

"It's really amazing, I can't even find my words, but I'm thinking about my family and I'm really glad to have made them happy. It's for sure an amazing day, it couldn't have been better than this."

Stage 10 Winners
Mark CAVENDISH
Mark
CAVENDISH
Wout VAN AERT
Wout
VAN AERT
Jasper PHILIPSEN
Jasper
PHILIPSEN
Hugo HOULE
Hugo
HOULE

The general classification broadly remained as it was with van Avermaet extended his lead to 2min 22sec when the group containing the heads of state including Chris Froome (Sky) rolled across the finish 3min 23sec after the stage winner.

Geraint Thomas (Sky) remains in second place while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) jumped a couple of places to move to third overall.

The major general classification casualty of the stage was Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) who struggled on the steeper pitches, perhaps the result of a crash on Stage 9, losing two minutes to his rivals.

Tour Leaders
Tadej POGAČAR
Tadej
POGAČAR
Mark CAVENDISH
Mark
CAVENDISH
Nairo QUINTANA
Nairo
QUINTANA
Tadej POGAČAR
Tadej
POGAČAR
View Overall Standings

With a climb to open the stage the jostling to be in the break started early with an attack by Alaphilippe which created a few splits but nothing important so early. The effort earned him a few KOM points as the first across the Col du Bluffy.

Next came the intermediate sprint at Thônes won by green jersey leader Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) out of a large group which formed after the first climb and contained van Avermaet.

The group broke up on the approach to the crest of the Col de la Croix-Fry with Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) reaching the top first giving him the virtual lead on the mountains classification.

Alaphilippe was still active despite his early ventures and won the KOM at Plateau des Glières ahead of David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) before continuing along a section of gravel road putting him into the KOM box seat.

Further down the road, Team Sky was doing the work of commanding the chase to the fifteen riders ahead, some seven minutes in arrears.

As the road lifted again the peloton was stretched out in several groups and singles with the leading bunch shedding riders before the Col de Romme with Alaphilippe again taking the maximum benefit after bridging across to  Taaramae, who had earlier broken away into the lead.

The climb up the Col de la Colombière was all Alaphilippe who turned the screws to distance Taaramae while holding off the rest of the peloton on the descent to the finish in Le Grand Bornand.

Alaphilippe did more than enough to win the stage soloing into the finish line for a comfortable win ahead of Ion Izagirre and Taaramae.