106th Tour de France 2019 - Stage 6
106th Tour de France 2019 - Stage 6

One hit wonder? TdF champ silences critics

Defending champion Geraint Thomas has struck the first blow of the Tour de France, putting time into all of his title rivals atop La Planche des Belles Filles.

In a show of eye-catching power on the Tour's first summit finish, Thomas accelerated on steep gravel ramps of the Vosges ski station with 400m remaining to send a message that he will again be a force to be reckoned with.

The Welshman caught and passed Julian Alaphillipe to finish fourth - and sit fifth on general classification - behind stage winner Dylan Teuns, runner-up Giulio Ciccone and Xandro Meurisse.

THE DE TOUR POD CAST

 

 

Geraint Thomas defied his doubters as Belgian Dylan Teuns won stage six
Geraint Thomas defied his doubters as Belgian Dylan Teuns won stage six

Ciccone, Richie Porte's teammate at Trek-Segafredo, found consolation in the form of the yellow jersey.

But the real race was taking place behind them as Thomas smashed predictions he would struggle on the steep gradients.

Porte finished 11th on the stage, nine seconds behind Thomas in what was an encouraging performance after a mammoth 160.5km stage that featured six category climbs even before the extended La Planche des Belles Filles.

The Aussie moved up 22 spots to 21st overall.

"We we had a couple of guys in the breakaway and Ciccone took the jersey so it was a great day for the team. It was a hard final, I think everything is going pretty well," Porte said.

"I'm not too far off. I was happy where I finished. Things are good."

Porte was joined at the line by Mikel Landa, Egan Bernal, and Jakob Fuglsang, while others lost more time to Thomas.

Adam Yates and Dan Martin conceded 14 seconds, while Rigoberto Uran (18 seconds), Steven Kruijswijk (35 seconds) and Vincenzo Nibali (51 seconds) all took hits.

But the biggest casualty was French hope Romain Bardet, who lost contact as the road turned to gravel with just under 1km to go and lost 1min9sec. After his losses in the Stage 2 time trial, he is on the ropes.

Team Ineos, formally known as Team Sky, were strangely subdued for a summit finish and their widely expected pace-setting never eventuated.

While Thomas ensured they got away with it, rivals will believe the race is wide open.

"When Movistar went and (Alejandro) Valverde was riding it was solid, but I was feeling good," Thomas said.

Six stages in and a change of leader
Six stages in and a change of leader

"I was just unsure about the steep climbs, not being my cup of tea as they say.

"It was one of those climbs where you have to be patient and when Alaphilippe went there, pretty early with about 800m to go, I just had to have the confidence to let him go.

"I had to ride my own tempo and then really try and drive it all the way to the line from 350m. I was starting to blow though, it was solid."

For sprinter Caleb Ewan, who joked on social media that people should "say a prayer" for him on a tough mountain day, it was a rough way to celebrate his 25th birthday.

"I tried to stay in the bunch as long as possible, but also not go too deep because I need to think about tomorrow," Ewan said of Friday's 230km sprint stage.

And he still planned on a little celebration.

"I asked for tiramisu so I hope I get it," Ewan said

Belgium's Dylan Teuns celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage
Belgium's Dylan Teuns celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage

 

HOW THEY STAND

1. Dylan Teuns, Belgium, Bahrain-Merida, 4:29:03.

2. Giulio Ciccone, Italy, Trek-Segafredo, :11.

3. Xandro Meurisse, Belgium, Wanty-Gobert, 1:05.

4. Geraint Thomas, Britain, Team Ineos, 1:44.

5. Thibaut Pinot, France, Groupama-FDJ, 1:46.

6. Julian Alaphilippe, France, Deceuninck-QuickStep, same time. 7. Nairo Quintana, Colombia, Movistar Team, 1:51.

8. Emanuel Buchmann, Germany, Bora-Hansgrohe, same time.

9. Jakob Fuglsang, Denmark, Astana Pro Team, 1:53.

10. Mikel Landa, Spain, Movistar Team, same time.

11. Richie Porte, Australia, Trek-Segafredo, same time.

12. Egan Bernal, Colombia, Team Ineos, same time.

13. Adam Yates, Britain, Mitchelton-Scott, 1:58.

14. Daniel Martin, Ireland, UAE Team Emirates, same time.

15. Rigoberto Uran, Colombia, EF Education First, 2:02.

16. Michael Woods, Canada, EF Education First, same time.

17. George Bennett, New Zealand, Team Jumbo-Visma, same time. 18. Enric Mas, Spain, Deceuninck-QuickStep, 2:17.

19. Bauke Mollema, Netherlands, Trek-Segafredo, 2:19.

20. Steven Kruijswijk, Netherlands, Team Jumbo-Visma, same time.< 1. Giulio Ciccone, Italy, Trek-Segafredo, 23:14:55.

2. Julian Alaphilippe, France, Deceuninck-QuickStep, :06.

3. Dylan Teuns, Belgium, Bahrain-Merida, :32.

4. George Bennett, New Zealand, Team Jumbo-Visma, :47.

5. Geraint Thomas, Britain, Team Ineos, :49.

6. Egan Bernal, Colombia, Team Ineos, :53.

7. Thibaut Pinot, France, Groupama-FDJ, :58.

8. Steven Kruijswijk, Netherlands, Team Jumbo-Visma, 1:04.

9. Michael Woods, Canada, EF Education First, 1:13.

10. Rigoberto Uran, Colombia, EF Education First, 1:15.

11. Jakob Fuglsang, Denmark, Astana Pro Team, 1:19.

12. Emanuel Buchmann, Germany, Bora-Hansgrohe, 1:22.

13. Enric Mas, Spain, Deceuninck-QuickStep, 1:23.

14. Adam Yates, Britain, Mitchelton-Scott, 1:24.

15. Xandro Meurisse, Belgium, Wanty-Gobert, 1:39.

16. Nairo Quintana, Colombia, Movistar Team, 1:41.

17. Mikel Landa, Spain, Movistar Team, 1:43.

18. Daniel Martin, Ireland, UAE Team Emirates, 1:46.

19. David Gaudu, France, Groupama-FDJ, 1:52.

20. Vincenzo Nibali, Italy, Bahrain-Merida, 1:56.< 21 Richie Porte, Australia, Trek-Segafredo, same time.

News Corp Australia


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