Tour de France: Polka dot jersey rests on Alaphilippe’s shoulders
Niki Terpstra features in the day's main break on the last stage of the second week.
The famous Millau viaduct – the highest of its kind in the world – overlooked the peloton as the riders rolled out for a 181.5km-long stage which put on the table a succession of climbs, starting with Côte de Luzençon and ending with Pic de Nore, nicknamed "the little Mont Ventoux" and famous for being the decisive ascent of the Criterium International between 1995 and 1998.
Despite several early attempts to set up a break, the only notable event in the first hour of racing was Julian Alaphilippe – the only French stage winner so far – jumping from the field to claim two more points and extend his advantage in the KOM standings, which he'll wear for the sixth straight day next week, when the Tour will enter the Pyrenees.
The battle for the breakaway featured some intense and tactical racing and resulted in 29 men going away more than 40 kilometers into the stage. Among the ones to book a place in that move was also Ronde van Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke victor Niki Terpstra, who helped the group put some serious daylight between and the peloton which didn't show any interest in chasing them down, giving the escapees enough space to open a 14-minute lead.
As expected, the concord went up in smoke on Pic de Nore, where Rafal Majka (Bora-hasngrohe) attacked only to get caught by seven riders on the descent to Carcassonne, which returned on the race 12 years from the previous visit. The victory went to Magnus Cort (Astana), who outsprinted Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), while Niki Terpstra came over the line in 12th place, a few minutes later.
Bob Jungels arrived as part of the peloton and will go into the final week of the race just outside the top 10 overall, which he still has a chance of cracking at what is just his second presence. The Grande Boucle will resume on Tuesday with a 218km-long mountain stage between Carcassonne and Bagnères-de-Luchon, a finish on 49 occasions so far since 1910.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images