Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) strode to the maillot jaune on Saturday, winning a dramatic Stage 1 of the Tour de France. The world champion attacked two kilometres from the finish to take a brilliant solo win in Landerneau after two huge pile-ups marred the finale of a tough curtain raiser in Brittany, with four-time winner Chris Froome hitting the deck.
And on the latest episode of The Breakaway, 2012 Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins said no other rider can live with him.
“It’s so predictable, he’s been accustomed to doing this," began Wiggins. "When he does it it’s devastating. It’s not that they let him do it, I just don’t think anyone can live with him when he makes this move. He’s the world champion, he lives up to his name in everything he does."
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He is the world’s best bike rider. He’s taken that over from [Peter] Sagan a couple of years ago, he’s a phenomenal athlete and it’s not to be underestimated what he is achieving. With the carnage we had today as well... he’s got blood on his leg but the first stage of the Tour de France, a yellow jersey, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Highlights: Alaphilippe takes brilliant solo win after two huge pile-ups on Stage 1
'It’s part and parcel of the race'
The race was marred by two serious-looking crashes - one of which entailed an overzealous fan, who contrived to hit Tony Martin with a placard causing a huge pile-up that brought down most of the rest of the peloton, with Wout van Aert, Primoz Roglic (both Jumbo–Visma), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Marc Soler (Movistar) coming down hard.
And later, Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) was caught up in a nasty-looking crash after a B&B Hotels p/b KTM rider lost concentration, came down and brought half of the peloton with them with 6.5km of the first stage to go - it was a crash that Rob Hatch on commentary called an "absolute disaster."
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However, Wiggins, talking on the post-race show, said that those sort of incidents were part of the Tour.
“It’s part and parcel of the spectacle of the Tour de France. The roads are so narrow, everyone is so nervous in Brittany," said Wiggins.
Wiggins added that the incident put paid to Froome's contention in the general classification, the Israel Start-Up Nation rider would finish the race 14:37 down on stage winner Alaphilippe.
“We saw Chris Froome finishing up way back a while ago. That puts paid to him contending for this GC at the Tour de France. But we’re still trying to soak it up and get information.”
‘That puts paid to his GC hopes’ – Wiggins on Froome crash
The Tour continues on Sunday with the 183.5km Stage 2 from Perros-Guirec to Mur-de-Bretagne where a similar punchy uphill ramp should give Alaphilippe’s rivals a chance to bite back – or see the fantastic Frenchman double up in Brittany.
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