• Are we looking at the next French winner of the Tour de France? (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Well, that was exciting! Julian Alaphilippe delivered upon his promise to return to yellow, Thibaut Pinot is now the top-ranked general classification contender and despite all that Thomas De Gendt was still the most impressive ride of the day!
By
SBS Cycling Central

14 Jul 2019 - 9:19 AM 

It's often a tough task to tell at a glance which teams are doing well at the Tour de France, there are 22 of them going around France, each with their own objectives and strengths. 

To keep an eye on how each team is progressing, Cycling Central is running the Zwift Power Rankings during this Tour de France. It's a quick guide from stage to stage of which teams are excelling and which are unlucky or faring poorly. 

Rankings are done according to a matrix of stage results, jersey standings and a team's ability to race with panache and flair.

Zwift SBS Cycling Podcast: Stage 8 - Alaphilippe "There is no better feeling than getting that jersey back"

Stage 8, incredible win by Thomas De Gent, and Alaphilippe is back in Yellow with panache

Zwift and SBS Cycling Central LIVE Rest Day Ride
Join a special Zwift livestream ride with SBS commentators Matthew Keenan and Robbie McEwen at 7pm AEST on Tuesday 16 July and Monday 22 July.

1. Jumbo-Visma (same)

Steven Kruijswijk and George Bennett stayed safe in the peloton while the rest of the team rests up for Groenewegen's next opportunity. 

Odd not to see Wout van Aert in the mix at the end of the stage, he did have to help Kruijswijk rejoin the peloton at one point, so maybe that took something out of him, or he was losing time so he can try his luck in a break on a favourable Stage 9 parcours. 

Best Results: Mike Teunissen 1st- Stage 1, Yellow Jersey 2 stages; Dylan Groenewegen 1st- Stage 7; Wout van Aert 2nd- Stage 5; George Bennett 4th overall; Steven Kruijswijk 7th overall; 1st- Stage 2 Team Time Trial

2. Deceuninck-Quickstep (same)

A Frenchman in yellow on Bastille day is almost as good as it gets and Alaphilippe was again superb in the finale of the stage. There was speculation that something like this would happen in the last Power Rankings article, but there wasn't the expectation that he'd get quite so much distance on the peloton.

Alaphilippe found a good ally in Pinot (perhaps also in the French TV motorbikes if you subscribe to Fuglsang and Mollema's assertions) and they put time into the bunch and almost dragged back De Gendt. It's potentially another stage for Alaphilippe tomorrow, but the team has been doing an awful lot and might prefer that a safe breakaway takes stage honours.

Best Results: Julian Alaphilippe 1st- Stage 3, 3rd- Stage 8, Yellow Jersey 3 stages, 1st overall; Elia Viviani 1st- Stage 4; Enric Mas 11th overall; 3rd- Stage 2 Team Time Trial

Alaphilippe defends against moto-drafting allegations
Deceuninck-QuickStep's Julian Alaphilippe was on the defensive after both Jakob Fuglsang and Bauke Mollema accused the Frenchman of slipstreaming to retake yellow on Stage 8.

3. Soudal Lotto (up one position)

Thomas De Gendt pulled off a ride for the ages, holding off a peloton that had kept the break on a pretty tight leash throughout what was a long, tough stage. 

The dual pronged attack for the king of the mountains jersey is working well so far, stopping other riders from accruing many points to catch up to Wellens. Of course, that all changes once the race gets to the proper mountains.

Best Results: Thomas De Gendt 1st- Stage 8; Caleb Ewan 2nd- Stage 7 3rd- Stage 1+4, Tim Wellens Mountains Jersey 5 days

4. BORA-hansgrohe (down one position)

Sagan looked in difficulty a few times during the stage but recovered and made it to the finish to keep his stranglehold on the green jersey.

Best Results: Peter Sagan 1st- Stage 5, 2nd- Stage 1, 3rd- Stage 7, Green Jersey 6 days; Emanuel Buchmann 10th overall

5. Bahrain Merida (same) 

Bahrain Merida put a lot of effort into getting Colbrelli up at the intermediate sprint, which was for very little once Deceuninck-Quickstep flexed their muscles a bit, leaving Colbrelli scrambling to finish the worst out of those that actually tried.

Difficult to see him maintaining contact with Sagan, and he also dropped behind Matthews, although he might as well continue to compete as there's value in being second if Sagan has to leave the Tour.

Best Results: Dylan Teuns 1st- Stage 6

6. Groupama-FDJ (up four positions)

A superb attack from Pinot who latched straight on to Alaphilippe when he went and committed all the way to the finish. He stole 28 seconds from his major rivals and is now the highest placed genuine contender. It's the strongest and most dynamic that Pinot has ever looked at Tour and he's showing that he'll definitely be in the battle for yellow.

If he can avoid that one bad day that he's had in the past and decide if he even wants to win, we could be looking at a break in the drought of French Tour champions.

Best Results: Thibaut Pinot 2nd- Stage 8, 3rd overall

7. Team Ineos (down one position)

Geraint Thomas has been unlucky and lucky at the same time. He's crashed quite a bit, three times already, but thankfully none have resulted in any injuries for the Welshman. 

The biggest inconvenience of the crash was it's timing, Thomas had to fight to get back on before the final climb and was understandably a bit gassed when Alaphilippe and Pinot attacked. 

Moscon and Kwiatkowski went down in the crash as well, no reports on any injuries as yet.

Best Results: Geraint Thomas 4th - Stage 6, 5th overall; Egan Bernal- 6th overall; 2nd- Stage 2 Team Time Trial

8. Trek-Segafredo (down one position)

They were unable to defend yellow but Giulio Ciccone said after that he was full of admiration for Alaphilippe who he described as a 'phenomenon'. Ciccone goes away with further lustre added to his burgeoning career in the sport, with Trek-Segafredo able to refocus on Richie Porte.

It's probably a mistake to read too much into post-race interviews, but while Thomas said he felt the pace was off in the chasing peloton, Porte said it was going 'full-gas'. Those two statements don't speak well of Porte's current level. 

Best Results: Giulio Ciccone 2nd- Stage 6, 1 day in yellow; Jasper Stuyven 3rd- Stage 3; Richie Porte 18th overall

9. Wanty Groupe Gobert (down one position)

Xandro Meurisse was unheralded coming into the Tour, but he's been very impressive so far and backed it up with another top-10 finish on a stage that looked like it should be too hard for the big Belgian. Didn't make the break, but Meurisse kept them relevant.

At the other end of the race, yesterday's most combative rider was again fighting a battle, but this time against the time cut. Sick and expelling fluids from unexpected orifices, Offredo just kept on fighting and lives to cycle another day at the Tour. Chapeau!

Best Results: Xandro Meurisse 3rd- Stage 6, 13th overall

10. Team Sunweb (down one position)

The team again lined up in support of Matthews, doing their portion of the work to keep the break in check. Matthews led the bunch home, but just like Stage 3 there were already riders up the road to take away a potential victory. 

They've shown remarkable perseverance to keep turning up to fight it out and give Matthews his best shot at winning, it just hasn't quite worked out yet.

Best Results: Michael Matthews 2nd- Stage 3; 4th- Stage 2 Team Time Trial

11. CCC (same)

A fine ride by Alessandro De Marchi to solo his way across to the breakaway and he had an eventful stage, nearly tumbling down someone's driveway before eventually being the last man dropped by De Gendt. 

Van Avermaet ended up eighth on the stage, maybe he's not too far way from a win to go with CCC's impressive attacking intent?

Best Results: Greg van Avermaet- 4th Stage 3, Mountains Jersey 2 stages

12. UAE Team Emirates (same)

Nothing worth reporting.

Best Results: Alexander Kristoff 2nd- Stage 4, Dan Martin 16th overall

13. Mitchelton-Scott (up one position)

Another day another good not great result for Matteo Trentin, this time sixth! Needs to get himself into a breakaway, Stage 9 is a possibility.

Best Results: Adam Yates 12th overall; Matteo Trentin 3rd- Stage 5

14. EF Education First (down one position)

Tejay gone, now Michael Woods crashed out of the GC with the fall that brought down Thomas and a few others on the Ineos squad. Woods remounted with few injuries, but his bike wasn't good and he didn't have a hope of getting back on and lost over 14 minutes on the day.

A pity for EF Education First as they were planning to launch Woods on the final climb, but it was surprising that no one stopped to help Woods out, given that he might as well be the co-leader on the team and was sitting ninth on GC. 

Best Results: Rigoberto Uran 8th overall

15. Astana (same)

Astana were a bit more positive this time round, at least hopping on the front of the peloton to force the pace at times. Fuglsang was the best of the riders not to make the jump with Pinot and Alaphilippe, not that it won him any time.

Best Results: Jakob Fuglsang 9th overall

16. Movistar (same)

Hills aren't mountains. Movistar only come out to play on mountains.

Best Results: Nairo Quintana 16th overall; Mikel Landa 17th overall

17. Dimension Data (up one position)

Ben King was in the break and it was a good show of intent from Dimension Data. He was dropped on the Croix de Part and never found his way back to the front of the race. 

Best Results: Giacomo Nizzolo 4th- Stage 1

Le Tour: Woods loses 14 minutes after Stage 8 crash
Herald Sun Tour stage winner Michael Woods drops 26 places on general classification following Stage 8 crash with Team Ineos as EF Education First woes continue during early days of the 106th Tour de France.
Thomas: Underrated champion?
Ineos team principal David Brailsford lauds character and merit of defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas as the 33-year-old Welshman continues bid for second consecutive Tour title despite sharing spotlight with team-mate once again.
Playing rider roulette - contract negotiations a constant at Tour
Riders don't only ride their way into cycling history with top performances at the Tour de France, but also a hell of a lot of money if they time things just right.

17. Cofidis (down one position)

A Christophe Laporte abandon is very bad news for Cofidis' chances of nabbing a stage win this year.

19. Katusha-Alpecin (same)

Another doughnut from Katusha. Their inaction at this year's Tour after a good TTT has been perplexing.

20. Team Arkea-Samsic (same)

In 2017, instead of Alaphilippe flying over the final climb, it probably would have been Warren Barguil, but that's not the same rider were seeing this time around.

21. Total Direct Energie (same)

Niki Terpstra finally gave the viewers an idea of what the Total Direct Energie jersey looks like. Turns out it's a  bluish kit that despite it's relative conservatism is a lot more dynamic than the team's riding style. 

22. AG2R-La Mondiale (same)

Hopefully they can pull off something soon.

Tour Tracker LIVE: Tour de France Stage 21
Live coverage of the Tour de France 2019 Stage 21: Monday 27 July from 1:55am AEST in the ŠKODA Tour Tracker and SBS OnDemand and SBS from 3am AEST.