The few spectators in privas could not believe their eyes and applauded only reluctantly for the man in the yellow jersey.
Not france’s favorite julian alaphilippe appeared for the ceremony of the overall leader, but briton adam yates stood shaking his head on the rough podium of 107. Tour de france. "This is not the way i wanted to get the jersey. Nobody wants that," said yates.
What had happened? Alaphilippe had accepted a drink bottle from his team 17 kilometers before the finish, which was no longer allowed at that time. The limit is set at kilometer 20. The jury knew no pardon and did not even make an exception for the local hero. 20 seconds time deduction and 200 francs were the penalty.
Alaphilippe took it in his stride. "It’s an official decision, there’s nothing I can do about it," he told france televisions, adding: "if that’s the way it is, no problem. I’ll get up tomorrow and we won’t talk about it anymore."
Alaphilippe’s triumphant run in yellow has been halted for the time being after the fifth stage, which was won by belgian wout van aert of the tony martin team. Now yates will start the sixth stage as overall leader. "I was going to get it on thursday anyway, now i’ve got it a day earlier," said the briton. Since the second stage, alaphilippe had led the overall standings, leaving his compatriots dreaming of another triumphant ride like last year’s when he led for 14 days.
Belgian van aert’s stage victory slipped into the background. Just one day after primoz roglic’s coup, another of tony martin’s teammates struck to give the outstanding jumbo-visma team its next stage win. Van aert took the victory on wednesday on the fifth leg after 183 kilometers from gap to privas ahead of the dutchman cees bol and the irishman sam bennett. This proves more and more that martin’s dutch team has taken over the supremacy in cycling.
Once again, there was no sign of the german riders in the finale. Old star andre greipel ("I’m back to being a normal racer") is doing better after his crash at the start, but the 38-year-old is not yet up to the challenge of the rough sprints. Germany’s hopeful buchmann, who finished in the peloton like top favorites primoz roglic (slovenia) and egan bernal (colombia), is now 22 seconds behind yates.
But the day’s victory went to van aert, who has had a super run since the new start at the beginning of august. Van aert has already won five races, including the classic milan-sanremo and the strade bianche gravel race. "That was the easiest stage i’ve ridden, but the finish was tough," van aert said after a long period of standstill in the peloton. "This stage suited my abilities," the former cross-country world champion added.
After the climb the day before, the stars of the field were able to hold back. Tuesday’s first mountain stage had already given a hint for the further course of the race. Ex-ski jumper roglic is the man to beat. The fact that his compatriot tadej pogacar also finished second set off cheers back home. "A historic day for slovenian cycling", wrote the newspaper "delo" and added after the double victory on the first mountain stage of the 107th world championship. Tour de france added: "and that was just the appetizer for roglic and pogacar."
John degenkolb, meanwhile, is on the mend after his early exit from the tour de france. "I am more confident than the last days. It’s off again. The swelling in the knees is still there, but it’s gotten better," degenkolb told ARD. Wednesday was the first time he was back on the bike for an hour. The 31-year-old had crashed badly in the first stage of the tour and then stayed out of the time limit.
On thursday, the sixth stage ends after 191 kilometers on the 1560 meter high mont aigoual. It’s not a real mountain finish, even if it goes up from the col de la lusette – a first category mountain – 14 kilometers before the end of the stage. Womogoglich offers a good chance for ausreiber.
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