Simon Yates soloed to his second Tour de France victory of the week oblivious to the fireworks behind him as the battle for the yellow jersey exploded on the ramps up to the Prat d’Albis on stage 15.
Thibaut Pinot darted forward for the second day in a row as the first cracks appeared in Julian Alaphilippe’s challenge, while Geraint Thomas again watched his rivals race up the road in front of him.
The only disappointment for fans at the end of 185 kilometres of entertainment was that Monday’s rest day meant they must wait for the next instalment.
In lieu of a race, Monday will instead be a chance to dissect a general classification in which only 39 seconds separate Thomas in second from Emanuel Buchmann in sixth, and in which Alaphilippe seems to accept he may no longer be a factor despite sitting 95 seconds ahead of Thomas.
“It’s not a surprise that I’m starting to struggle,” said the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, who did not target the Tour this year but will enjoy an 11th day in yellow when the race resumes in Nimes on Tuesday.
If Alaphilippe is fading, Pinot looks the man in form of all the contenders.
Twenty-four hours after his victory on the mighty Tourmalet, the Groupama-FDJ man was able to distance his rivals in the final kilometres and establish himself as the man most likely to end a 34-year wait for a home winner of the Tour.
His first kick with seven kilometres to go put Thomas in trouble. Alaphilippe tried to follow but quickly discovered he could not, while Pinot’s second dig four and half kilometres from the top left Buchmann and Thomas’ Ineos team-mate Egan Bernal behind.
By the line, Pinot had taken 55 seconds out of Thomas to sit only 15 behind. How he must rue the 100 seconds lost to crosswinds on stage 10.Thomas insisted he was feeling much better than he had when he was distanced a day earlier on the Tourmalet, and interestingly seemed to blame the co-leadership at Ineos for putting him in trouble.
“It’s a difficult one, tactics wise – I wanted to go, I had the legs to go but I wasn’t going to chase down Egan Bernal with Alaphilippe on my wheel,” said the Welshman, who gave up 31 seconds to his team-mate.
“I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, I had to wait a few kilometres and that gave Thibaut Pinot time but at least the legs are responding really well.”
Provided by Press Association Sports
The RAKBANK Ride will return to Ras Al Khaimah on January 19 2018.
The cycling event, which first took place in 2015 and attracted over 500 participants, will once again be a major event on the UAE cycling calendar and will take place over a 85km course.
The ride start and finish will be in Al Marjan Island, one of the key tourism development zones in the Emirate. A 30km course and a 10km “fun ride” course will also be available for less experienced cyclists.
The RAKBANK Ride will further place the spotlight on RAK, which has several challenging routes for cyclists and has earned a reputation as a growing destination within the UAE and beyond for cycling and sports activities in general.
Commenting on the announcement, Peter England, RAKBANK CEO, said: “Recognizing the growing number of cyclists in the UAE, we are pleased to announce the return of RAKBANK Ride to our home emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The ride aims to promote the sport of cycling, a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as to showcase the most mountainous landscapes in the emirate. We at RAKBANK believe in the value of getting office employees away from their desks for team bonding exercises as a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.”
The event is being overseen by Big Wheel Marketing, and Founder, CEO Steven Rice said: “Ras Al Khaimah’s natural assets make it a perfect location for a wide range of sports, and none more so than cycling.
“Being home to Jebel Jais, which is the highest mountain in the UAE, and with a steady increase in the awareness of the emirate, we are now seeing regular groups of cyclists coming to Ras Al Khaimah from locations all over UAE and the wider GCC countries, who enjoy the challenging yet uniquely beautiful cycling routes available.
“We are confident that the RAKBANK Ride will be a successful event and will remain a fixture on the cycling calendar for many years to come”.
The RAKBANK Ride partners include Hopasports, who provide the online event registration page at https://www.hopasports.com/event/rakbank-ride-2018, on-the-ground organization and logistics services partner Revolution Cycles, and Promoseven Sports Marketing.
The Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Marjan Island, is the partner hotel for the event and has provided a selection of special accommodation offers for race entrants.
The RAKBANK Ride is approved by the UAE Cycling Federation and will be supported by the RAK Police.
UAE Team Emirates’ rider and former U23 World Champion Matej Mohoric won the Hong Kong Cyclothon on Sunday, successfully defending his 2016 title.
The Slovenian rider crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of Robbie Hucker (IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness team) while teammate Ben Swift came in 11th place.
Commenting on his victory Mohoric said: “UAE Team Emirates was one of two World Tour teams lined up at the starting line. We knew that in order to avoid taking on the burden of having to lead the race, we would have to ensure we made it into the breaks, and that is what we did.
“After 35 km, Swift and I managed to be part of an attack made up of about 20 riders or so and this turned out to be the crucial move we needed in the race. Our group started to break up as the race went on and with about three km to go I launched the winning assault.
“I’m very happy with my victory and this win is a testament to the great support I recieved from my teammates. So I would like to thank everyone! After this race, I’ll be on the starting grid for the Tour of Guangxi trying to make the most of my good form if I am to close my season on a winning streak.”
UAE Team Emirates will compete next in the Tour of Turkey from 10-15 October and the Tour of Guangxi from 19-24 October.
1. Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates) – 2:35:57
2. Robbie Hucker (IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness team) – 00:00:05
3. Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) 00:01:14
11. Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) – 00:03:20
— World Cycling Stats (@wcstats) October 8, 2017