Brilliant Alaphilippe takes yellow

27 June 2021 03:39:53 GMTPlus10

Julian Alaphilippe ensured a first home victory in the opening stage of the Tour de France since 2001 on a day marred by two mass crashes.

Alaphilippe is 4500/1 to win the General Classification, with Primoz Roglic at 1500/1 and Tadej Pogacar available at 1/1000.

The drama started with 44km of the Brest-Landerneau stage remaining when Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin collided with a cardboard sign being held out by an inattentive spectator.

That caused a massive peloton pile-up in which Roglic was involved and there was more chaos eight kilometres from the finish on a descent when Britain's Chris Froome was another rider who hit the deck.

It's a scenario I imagined and I really wanted to do it.

Julian Alaphilippe

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It looked as if the race could be over for the four-time Tour de France winner but he managed to finish the stage 14 minutes behind the leader.

Alaphilippe, who celebrated his sixth stage win in the race, established an eight-second lead over Roglic, Pogacar and Geraint Thomas on the day and with, bonus second factored in, leads the general classification by 12 seconds.

The Frenchman was delighted to have got off to a winning start as the riders prepare for Sunday's 183.5km stage from Perros-Guirec to Mur-de-Bretagne Guerledan.

"It's a scenario I imagined and I really wanted to do it but of course I had to do it and it's really super," Alaphilippe said. "My team did a great job and controlled it all day.

"At the end I was caught in a crash but we got back and I really had to make the last climb.

"I had to get rid of the sprinters, it wasn't easy but I gave my best and that was it."

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