Published: Sun, July 14, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Tour de France rider’s $12k bike SPLITS IN HALF during crash

Tour de France rider’s $12k bike SPLITS IN HALF during crash

Belgium's Thomas de Gendt won after a stage-long breakaway, as France's Julian Alaphilippe regained the yellow jersey with a late attack.

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) " 4.

Two hours later, Alaphilippe, described by Wales' Thomas as "the darling of France" was still posing for selfies with an adoring public at the former mining town better known for the soccer club AS Saint-Etienne, once led by French soccer great Michel Platini.

The last Frenchman to win the Tour was Bernard Hinault in 1985 and never since the end of the 1980s has a local rider emerged as a more credible potential victor than Pinot this year.

Luckily for the reigning champion, Thomas had plenty of domestiques who still had functioning bikes to pace him back to the bunch once again, where he rejoined Egan Bernal in the front ten riders by the time they crossed the line. "They're the ones to watch".

Aussie Richie Porte, who finished safely alongside the main contenders, said it was harder than the daunting Stage 6 summit finish on La Planche des Belles Filles. He knew he had a golden chance to get it back on rollercoaster terrain suiting his skills.

It was breakaway specialist De Gendt's second stage victory on the Tour after the Lotto Soudal rider prevailed at the top of the iconic Mont Ventoux in 2016.

The brutal attack was left unanswered and Alaphilippe went over the mountain in second position behind De Gendt, claiming five precious bonus seconds.

"I arrived on the Tour determined to do everything I could and we'll see how it goes".

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Alaphilippe now leads Italian Giulio Ciccone, who started the day in yellow, by 23 seconds and Pinot, who gained bonus seconds in the last ascent and at the finish, by 53 seconds.

Since achieving a third-place finish in 2014, Pinot has always struggled at his home race, and skipped it past year. Our goal was to come to the Tour for winning a stage. "Since I've done that I'm more relaxed", he said.

Gianni Moscon's bike snapped in two.

Thomas was frustrated that Alaphilippe's move came shortly after he had made his way back into the peloton. 'Woods crashed, and just took out Gianni and me.

"This is a day I'll never forget", said the overall leader.

The last French rider to be in yellow for Bastille Day fireworks was Tony Gallopin in 2014.

The stage took a toll on many riders, including former Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali, who conceded four minutes and 25 seconds. 'We nearly got it with Caleb (Ewan) yesterday.

France's Thibaut Pinot, right, and France's Julian Alaphilippe crosse the finish line of the eighth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 200 kilometers (125 miles) with start in Macon and finish in Saint Etienne, France, Saturday, July 13, 2019.

Sunday's hilly ninth stage is a potentially treacherous ride from St Etienne to Brioude over 170.5km. Then with 16km of the stage remaining he was unable to get out of the way of a crash caused by his team mate Gianni Moscon coming into contact with Michael Woods (EF Education First).

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