• Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) dons the yellow jersey following his second-place result atop the Stage 6 summit finish in La Planche des Belles Filles. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Italian Giulio Ciccone slides into yellow thanks to six-second time bonus but claims Trek-Segafredo's original race plan to back Australian Richie Porte is still very much intact.
Cycling Cental

12 Jul 2019 - 6:34 AM  UPDATED 12 Jul 2019 - 6:50 AM

Unlike the Trek-Segafredo women's team, the men have not had quite as much to write about in 2019 which is evident by the lack of content on the US-based WorldTour team's official website. Only six victories, compared to the women's 16, including two from new yellow jersey holder Giulio Ciccone, who finished second to fellow breakaway rider Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) on an arduous Stage 6 summit final in La Planche des Belles Filles.

The 24-year-old Ciccone, who posted a stage win at the Giro d'Italia in May, crossed the line 11 seconds adrift of Teuns, but lifted the yellow leader's jersey off Stage 3 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) due to a six-second time bonus accrued for his runner-up result.

Teuns fights for win as Ciccone claims yellow on first mountain stage
Bahrain Merida's Dylan Teuns pulled clear from the last of his breakaway companions, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) on the ruthless gradients of La Planche des Belles Filles, emerging a first-time Tour stage winner, with Ciccone moving into the yellow jersey.

However, Ciccone was not immediately aware of his new position atop the general classification.

"I wasn't happy to be second on the stage and also be told I was second in GC too, l then I heard I was in the yellow jersey. It was an unbelievable moment," the Tour debutant explained. "This is my first Tour de France, but now everything changes for me.

"To be honest, my goal was the stage, and I focused on that," Ciccone continued. "We knew I lost a lot of time on the road and so I gave it all for the stage on the climb to the finish. Dylan Teuns was the strongest, and I was disappointed for the stage result, but I was paid back for my efforts with the yellow jersey.

"When I was a boy I watched the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France on television, and so it feels so strange for me to be in yellow. I watched [Alberto] Contador and [Andy] Schleck fight it out at the Tour and [Vincenzo] Nibali at the Giro d'Italia. I admire Purito Rodriguez too, for how he rode on the steep climbs."

Despite the yellow jersey success, the first-year WorldTour rider who shares the same surname as global pop icon Madonna thanks to their Abruzzo roots, but are apparently of no relation, Trek-Segafedo's pre-race goals to support Australian team-mate are still in place.

"The Giro was my big goal, and I hadn't planned to ride the Tour de France. But seeing my form, we decided I'd help Richie and team and gain some experience too," said the former Bardiani-CSF rider, who won a stage at both the Giro and the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah while riding for the Italian UCI Professional Continental team in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

"We have a plan with one team leader, and we'll continue with that plan. That won't change now despite me in yellow.

"I want to honour the jersey, but Richie Porte is still our team leader," Ciconne concluded. "He was in good condition, and Bauke Mollema too after the Giro. [Friday] is a flat stage, so we can enjoy a day in the yellow jersey and try to keep it, but the plan is the same: to be there for Richie. I'm racing day by day and will continue to do that."

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For Porte, who finished just outside the top 10 (11th), 1 minute 53 seconds off Teuns, the two-time Paris-Nice winner moved up 22 spots to 21st overall (+1:56). It was a big day for other riders as well as Porte's former Sky team-mate and last year's Tour winner Geraint Thomas moved to fifth despite dropping four seconds on GC, immediately followed by Ineos co-leader Egan Bernal (+0:53), who Thomas leap-frogged after a nine-second swing.

"We had a couple of guys in the breakaway and Ciccone takes the jersey, it was a great day for the team. It was a hard final, I think everything is going pretty well," the 34-year-old Porte told SBS following the stage.