The Tour brings elation and it brings heartbreak, joy and disappointment – those feelings are magnified further still when you wear the yellow jersey. Former maillots jaune often describe the experience as ‘being like the sun’, because the whole world seems to revolve around you. Likewise, losing ‘the golden fleece’ can feel like the world is ending.
Tour Report Stage 5
On stage five of the Tour, Julian Alaphilippe experienced a quite unusual feeling – of having lost the jersey not because his legs were not strong enough, but because he broke a relatively minor rule of the race by mistake. It is one thing to have the jersey taken from your shoulders by a rival who just got the better of you, an entirely different thing to lose it to the rule book
Riders are not allowed to accept food or drink from their teams in the final 20 kilometres of the race, but due to a colossal miscalculation a soigneur from his team handed Alaphilippe a bidon with 17 kilometres of the stage remaining. He took it and was duly docked 20 seconds on general classification after the finish, taking him out of yellow and promoting the Englishman Adam Yates into the race lead.
No professional cyclist wants to gain yellow this way and Yates said as much after the stage. Nevertheless, he and the rest of the riders placed second to sixteenth this morning will all move up one spot on GC.
As for the days action, the race came down to a bunch sprint, with an incredibly cool looking Wout Van Aert coming back from his crash in last year’s tour to claim a stage win ahead of Cees Bol, with Sam Bennett doing enough coming in 3rd to claim the Green Jersey.
Team Bahrain McLaren had a solid day, with their 100% focus on the general classification releasing them from any obligation to help with the chasing. Mikel Landa – riding as the sole leader of a major GC team for the first time in his career – is looking incredibly accomplished this year and will be relishing another climbing showdown when the race returns to the mountains tomorrow for a summit finish at Mont Aigoual in the Massif Central. Wout Poels, who has been struggling with some nasty injuries, was awarded the day’s combativity prize for his heroics.