Sports

Tour de France 2019

Tour de France 2019

Porte, who finished fifth overall in 2016, finished the stage in 11th place, 1:53 behind Teuns but only nine seconds behind defending champion Geraint Thomas.

But Alaphilippe fell just six seconds short, losing the race lead he first took on Stage 3.

It was the longest stage on this year's Tour de France.

"And now I'm here answering questions with this yellow jersey, it feels odd", he said with an incredulous smile.

"When Movistar went and (Alejandro) Valverde were riding it was solid, I was feeling pretty good - I was just unsure as on those steep climbs I was expecting Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana and obviously Egan to jump up there, so I was hoping for it to be hardest all day before that".

Italy's Giulio Ciccone retained possession of the yellow jersey and maintains a six-second lead over Julian Alaphilippe of France.

Thomas waited until first Mikel Landa, then Thibaut Pinot and, finally, the overnight leader Alaphilippe himself had attacked before showing his form was back after a nasty fall in the Tour de Suisse in June. "I am really enjoying myself in this team, that feels like one big family to me".

"What was reassuring yesterday was to see Geraint Thomas at this level", said the team's sporting director Nico Portal.

France adding an eco tax to flights out of its airports
But she welcomed the fact France was taking action at home, rather than waiting for an EU-wide initiative on airline tax. It has also linked up with the Netherlands to try to convince fellow European nations to tax airline travel more.

Three of the overall contenders lost significant time as 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali, Jumbo Visma captain Steven Kruijswijk and, to a greater extent, Frenchman Romain Bardet suffered on the slopes. We took the lead very early but it was good.

"When I saw my mum, my dad and my girlfriend at the end when I came down, it was pretty emotional". "I'm still very motivated for this Tour but I have to try to understand what happened and why I was stuck like that".

To add to his torment, Teunissen and Groenewegen are roomates on the Tour, meaning he had to spend the night with the yellow jersey in his room.

Less than a week ago in Brussels, Dylan Groenewegen sat dejected in the middle of the road, his body language oozing disappointment as the Tour de France doctor treated him.

The 160.5km stage over seven categorised climbs, including the Ballon d'Alsace, the first climb ever used in the Tour, was the first real rendezvous of this year's race.

Friday was much less dramatic the previous day, with the longest stage of the Tour raced at relatively sedate pace as riders let their legs recover.

"With a block headwind, every time the TV motorbike goes in front of the peloton the speed goes up", the UAE Team Emirates rider said.

"It's an incredible day, I just can't realise".