Julian Alaphilippe​​ Wins Tour de France Stage 16 After Yates Crash

The KOM leader took a comfortable lead after Yates crashed on a rapid, 10K final descent to the finish.

AFP/Bicycling.com |

Julian Alaphilippe won Stage 16 of the 2018 Tour de France on Tuesday, taking his second stage victory this year as well as extending his lead in the race’s King of the Mountains competition.

The Quick-Step rider trailed Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates until about 7K from the finish, when Yates crashed midway through a rapid, 10K final descent during the Tour’s first day in the Pyrenees. Alaphilippe had been 22 seconds behind when Yates crested the last summit of the stage, but handily captured the lead when the latter took a bend too quickly and tumbled off his bike.

“It was really hard to get into the early breakaway and the rest of the day I was suffering,” Alaphalippe said after his stage win. “The pace was really fast the whole day. But it’s fantastic. I’m really happy.”

Spanish rider Gorka Izagirre finished 15 seconds behind Alaphilippe, while Yates ultimately took third. Alaphilippe, who claimed the polka dot jersey after winning Stage 10 and has held onto it ever since, now leads the KOM classification by a good 49 points over fellow Frenchman Warren Barguil.

It was an eventful, 218K stage between Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon. About 26K in, the race had to stop for about 15 minutes after French police accidentally tear gassed the peloton. An officer had used the tear gas against farmers protesting near the stage route, but the wind carried it back into the riders. Tour officials reported no serious injuries, although some riders dealt with irritated eyes and sinuses.

Later on, former world champion Philippe Gilbert took a nasty spill about 57K from the finish, losing control on a curvy descent and crashing into a stone wall. The impact sent him flying into a ravine, but the 36-year-old hopped back on his bike and continued the stage.

Overall leader Geraint Thomas finished comfortably with the peloton, keeping his yellow jersey once again. He leads Sky teammate Chris Froome by 1:39 in the General Classification and Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin – the only racer, at this point, who has a realistic shot at nabbing the overall victory away from Team Sky – by 1:50.

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