The double World Champion kept his position in the top ten.
Saturday scheduled a tough test for the riders, who had to take on the Col de la Madeleine, Col du Mollard and Col de la Croix de Fer – all in the space of just 170 kilometers. A breakaway comprising a handful of riders, including Soudal Quick-Step’s Rémi Cavagna, who animated the race until the first part of the Madeleine.
One of France’s longest climbs, Madeleine is a regular feature in cycling, including at Le Tour, where it was tackled twenty-five times since 1969. Among those to crest it in the lead over the years also two of our riders – Peters Velits, in the meantime retired, in 2012, and Julian Alaphilippe, six years later.
Victorious a couple of days ago at the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Frenchman started out the day in third overall, but knew his chances of remaining on the podium were minimal given the three classified climbs on the route of the penultimate stage. This didn’t stop the two-time World Champion from putting in a stern fight on Col de la Croix de Fer, where the GC men flexed their muscles.
Having benefited from the excellent work of Mauri Vansevenant prior to the steepest part of the ascent, Julian gave everything after being dropped with six kilometers to go, knowing there was no reason to panic. Riding at his own pace helped Alaphilippe not go into red and keep his chances of a top 10 overall finish alive. The 30-year-old arrived one minute behind the group from which Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) soloed to victory, and will now go into the final stage of the race seventh overall and with a shot at his best result in seven years at the Dauphiné.
“I did my best today, gave absolutely everything I had on this hard ascent. This is a very important week towards the Tour de France and I’m satisfied with how things went. I found pleasure in racing, I found the legs to battle for victory, so I can be content about all of this”, said Julian at the finish.
Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images