Alaphilippe keeps green on gray day
The 26-year-old has all but won the 15th edition of the modern Tour of Britain.
Julian Alaphilippe is less than 24 hours and 77 kilometers away from clinching the second general classification victory of his career, after navigating the longest stage of the Tour of Britain shepherded by his Quick-Step Floors merry teammates, who escorted him through the famous Sherwood Forest, avoiding the traps laid by the pouring rain and the slippery roads and safely bringing him to the finish in Mansfield, after five exhausting hours in the saddle.
Some 30 kilometers into the 215.6km-long stage between West Birdgford and Mansfield, five riders opened a small margin which soon swelled to eight minutes, prompting a response from Quick-Step Floors, who moved to the front of the pack and quickly halved the advantage of the quintet, before setting a cruise tempo which kept the escapees in check all the way to the finish, where the bunch arrived four minutes behind Ian Stannard (Team Sky), who took the win after dropping his breakaway companions.
With the last day of the Tour of Britain lacking any challenges and consisting of a criterium on the streets of London, all that Julian Alaphilippe has to do in order to crown himself overall victor is to safely conclude Sunday's stage, as the 17-second buffer he has over his closest rival looks to be more than enough to win the title.
"Today was about controlling the breakaway and keeping an eye on the men on the front, making sure they won't become a threat in the GC. It wasn't an easy day with all that rain and nasty wet roads, but the boys did a perfect job and brought us closer to what would be a beautiful and well-deserved win", sports director Brian Holm explained at the end of Saturday's stage.
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