Tour de France 2018: Julian Alaphilippe wins stage 16 after Adam Yates crashes

Julian Alaphilippe
Julian Alaphilippe also won stage 10 of this year's Tour de France

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe won an eventful stage 16 of the Tour de France after Britain's Adam Yates crashed late on while leading.

Yates crested the final climb alone but fell on the descent 7km before the finish in Bagneres-de-Luchon.

Alaphilippe was applying the pressure behind and swung past to claim his second victory of this year's Tour.

Geraint Thomas kept the yellow jersey and leads fellow Briton and team-mate Chris Froome by one minute 39 seconds.

The race was delayed 29km into the 218km stage from Carcassonne after a protest by French farmers.

Hay bales were thrown across the road before police appeared to use a spray on protesters, which then blew into the peloton.

Some riders, including Team Sky's Thomas and Froome, stopped and doused their eyes with water.

The race was delayed for 15 minutes while riders received medical attention, before a large group broke clear after the resumption, from which Alaphilippe attacked throughout, also extending his lead in the polka dot jersey mountains classification.

Even before Yates' crash, Quick-Step Floors rider Alaphilippe looked on course to catch the 25-year-old, whose front wheel slipped from under him as he hit a wet patch in the road. Yates finished third, with Gorka Izagirre second.

"I've taken more risks on more technical descents before and never had any problems, but you never know what is coming round these corners," Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates told ITV 4.

"I've no bad injuries, just bad morale - it's pretty devastating to come that close to winning a stage of the Tour and not win."

Alaphilippe wins thrilling chase

Yates rode a faultless race until his crash, powerfully bridging across to leading duo Robert Gesink and Domenico Pozzovivo on the final climb, the Col du Portillon, before kicking clear as soon as Alaphilippe also made the catch.

Keeping his pedal stroke smooth and only getting out of the saddle on the steepest sections, Yates built up a 22-second lead by the summit, with only Alaphilippe able to respond.

That set up a dramatic downhill chase in the final 10km, during which Alaphilippe used his tremendous descending skills to cut the gap by eight seconds in 3km by the time Yates fell.

Although Yates was back riding quickly, he knew his chance was gone, shaking his head as he was caught by Bahrain-Merida's Izagirre, who sprinted to second, with Yates holding off the other pursuers.

"We didn't think it was in the bag," said Mitchelton-Scott sporting director Matt White. "Alaphilippe is one of the world's fastest descenders and it put Adam under a lot of pressure to take some risks.

"We were right behind Alaphilippe in the team car and some of the positions he got in down that descent, I've never seen before in my life."

As with his stage 10 win, victory here was reward for Alaphilippe's attacking instincts, the 26-year-old ensuring he contested every climb to pick up 30 points and extend his lead over Warren Barguil in the king of the mountains competition to 49 points.

Alaphilippe's team-mate Philippe Gilbert is out of the Tour after a heavy fall on the descent of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, where Italian Fabio Casartelli crashed and died during the 1995 Tour.

Belgian Gilbert locked up on a left-hand bend and flipped over a low stone wall into a ravine, but climbed out to complete the stage. However, a scan later revealed the 36-year-old had sustained a fractured kneecap in the crash.

Thomas eases through GC stalemate

After a 47-man group containing no threats to the main contenders finally established themselves up the road, this was a largely sedate day in terms of the general classification.

Astana and Katusha-Alpecin tried to set something up for their respective leaders, Jakob Fuglsang and Ilnur Zakarin, while Movistar's Mikel Landa, sixth overall, attacked over the final climb and on to the descent.

Each dig was easily reeled in by Team Sky, who calmly led the peloton home 8:52 down on Alaphilippe, but their rivals should have more scope to attack on Wednesday's tough 65km stage.

"We were expecting fireworks and a lot of attacks but luckily they didn't materialise - they did a bit on the last climb and descent but the boys shut it down," said Thomas.

"We're definitely expecting attacks on stage 17 - maybe from the gun. It's a really demanding day and the last climb is maybe the hardest of the Tour so it will take a gutsy ride to go from the start, but we're expecting the worst."

Meanwhile, Peter Sagan secured an unassailable lead in the green jersey points classification as neither he nor second-placed Alexander Kristoff picked up any points.

The world champion is 282 points ahead with a maximum of 240 remaining in the final five stages and only needs to complete the race to win a record-equalling sixth green jersey.

Short but sharp stage 17

Wednesday's stage 17 is one of the shortest mass start routes in Tour de France history at 65km, but features three punishing climbs.

The riders will be placed in grids at the start, according to their rankings on the general classification.

In his stage-by-stage guide for BBC Sport, Mark Cavendish said: "This stage is something that is unheard of - I don't think the gridding of the riders will have any affect on the race but we start with the Peyresourde and it's a gruelling climb.

"It will be full gas from start to finish, no matter who you are."

Stage 17 profile

Stage 16 result

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Quick-Step Floors) 5hrs 13mins 22secs

2. Gorka Izagirre (Spa/Bahrain-Merida) +15secs

3. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) same time

4. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek-Segafredo)

5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +18secs

6. Robert Gesink (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) +37secs

7. Michael Valgren (Den/Astana) +56secs

8. Gregor Muhlberger (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) same time

9. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +1min 10secs

10. Pierre Latour (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +1min 18secs

General classification after stage 16

1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 68hrs 12mins 01secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1min 39secs

3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Sunweb) +1min 50secs

4. Primoz Roglic (Slo/LottoNL-Jumbo) +2mins 38secs

5. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +3mins 21secs

6. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 42secs

7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) +3mins 57secs

8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +4mins 23secs

9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +6mins 14secs

10. Dan Martin (Ire/UAE Team Emirates) +6mins 54secs

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