Tour de France
Stage 11) Sorgues – Malaucène
France Wednesday 07 July 2021 199 km
Tour de France: Attacking Alaphilippe shows rainbow jersey on Mont Ventoux
Julian Alaphilippe became the first World Champion in 66 years to cross the summit of the mythical Mont Ventoux in the lead, another remarkable achievement for Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Frenchman – the first rider to pull on the yellow jersey at this year’s edition. The 29-year-old had been the main instigator of the day, attacking early in the stage and stretching out the field before several riders managed to bridge across and form what became the breakaway.
The personification of panache, Alaphilippe combined gutsy attacks with strong pulls at the front of the group, helping the escapees build a comfortable five-minute advantage by the time they arrived at the foot of the first ascent of Mont Ventoux. Around 200 meters from the top, the World Champion burst clear of the group and wrote history as the first Frenchman in almost two decades to put his name on the roll of honour atop “le Géant de Provence”.
“I was keen on going to the attack, so I showed my intentions from the very beginning. I enjoyed it today and I gave my best, but the stage was a lap too long for me. On the other hand, I can’t tell you how delighted I am to have been first at the summit of Mont Ventoux with the rainbow jersey on my shoulders. It’s a special ascent, a mythical one which everybody knows, and to crest it first is an unbelievable feeling”, a smiling Julian said at the finish.
Escorted by four Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates – Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns and Michael Mørkøv – who once again did a fantastic job in his service, Mark Cavendish made it home with plenty of minutes to spare and kept hold of the green jersey, which on Thursday he will wear for the 33rd time in his career.
“We knew it was never going to be as close as Sunday, but we still had to be focused the entire day as it was really hard out there. I had my teammates with me, helping me up and down the mountains. It wasn’t easy, but I was incredibly motivated to make it and not quit. I love the Tour and I’ll keep going for as long as I can”, said Cavendish, who has a lead of 58 points in the green jersey classification.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images