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

Julian Alaphilippe back in yellow

A spectacular rider with an aggressive style, Alaphilippe is, however, limited in mountains and has no real hope of keeping the jersey to the end.

Pinot has shown great form over the past season and there is a growing belief he could achieve something great this year. "They're the ones to watch".

Alaphilippe - who won the yellow jersey on Stage three - handed it over after losing just six seconds to Giulio Ciccone on Thursday at the Planche des Belles Filles ski station.

The pair crossed the line six seconds behind De Gendt but 20 seconds ahead of the bunch featuring defending champion Geraint Thomas, who suffered a scare 15 kilometres from the finish when he took a minor tumble.

Alaphilippe will be the first Frenchman to wear the yellow jersey on Bastille Day since Tony Gallopin in 2014.

Thomas De Gendt won the 200-kilometer (124-mile) trek after a long breakaway effort at the front.

Ciccone is 23 seconds behind in second, while Pinot is 53 seconds off the pace in third. The Belgian went on to cross the finish line first in Saint-Etienne.

"I've been working hard for that, but it goes beyond my hopes", Alaphilippe said.

"It was frustrating to skip April and races like the Tour of the Basque Country but I knew it would pay off".

"My career goal was to win the Lombardia and stages on all three grands tours". "Since I've done that I'm more relaxed". A bike belonging to one of his team mate's was completely smashed into pieces in the fray, but Thomas was quickly sent on his way with an escort of team-mates. Alaphilippe and Pinot launched their move on the final climb but could not reel him in.

Thomas was involved in another crash during the opening stage last week in Belgium.

"Woods crashed, and just took out Gianni [Moscon] and me".

"Woods crashed and took out Gianni ... and I just got tangled in Gianni's bike". I was trying to catch the group again in case there was another mechanical or a fall. "It's just frustrating that those two got time".

De Gendt's incredible victory came after he was part of the original breakaway group of four before outlasting his fellow escapees, a charging peloton and then Alaphilippe and Pinot in the frantic closing stages.

Sunday's hilly ninth stage is a potentially treacherous ride from St Etienne to Brioude over 170.5 kilometres.

Australia's Richie Porte, center left, rides with the pack during 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.

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.

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