Julian Alaphilippe produced the time trial of his life at the Tour de France to extend his lead in the yellow jersey with victory on stage 13 in Pau.
Alaphilippe completed the lumpy 27km course in a time of 35 minutes flat, beating second-placed Geraint Thomas by 14 seconds to extend his lead in yellow to 86 seconds.
It was an outstanding result from the Frenchman, not a renowned time triallist, as he defied expectations that defending champion Thomas would begin to assert his authority over the race.
There remains an expectation that Alaphilippe will soon fall away from the top of the general classification, but he survived Thursday's first Pyrenean stage without time losses and has now given himself an additional cushion before Saturday's summit finish on the Tourmalet.
While a surprise, Alaphilippe's victory in yellow was certainly fitting as the Tour celebrated the 100th birthday of the maillot jaune, first awarded to the Tour's leading rider on this day in 1919.
Thomas' failure to pick up time was not the only disappointment for Team Ineos as Egan Bernal could only manage 22nd on the stage, 96 seconds down on Alaphilippe, and so slipped from third to fifth on the general classification.
The Colombian conceded the young rider's white jersey to Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mate Enric Mas.
Alaphilippe wins stage to extend his lead!
We are within riding distance of Lourdes and the Tour de France has just witnessed a miracle. Julian Alaphilippe has blown Geraint Thomas away, out of the park and into the next prefecture.
Alaphilippe has, perhaps thanks to the power of the maillot jaune, produced the time trial of his life and beaten the defending Tour de France champion – and a mean time trial rider – by a whopping margin of 14secs to extend his lead on general classification to 1min 26sec.
Speaking on Eurosport, commentator and former pro rider Dan Lloyd admits that that was something very special. "Absolutely incredible," said Lloyd. "We thought he might stay in yellow but we were not expecting him to win the stage today and I dare say he wasn’t either, by quite a margin other Geraint Thomas, 14 seconds isn’t alien-like but it’s quite something from Julian Alaphilippe. He’s only for four time-trial wins to his name, but he’s been in the form of his life this year and he’s continued it once again here."
Thomas take the lead
Geraint Thomas sets a new fastest time on the line, 21sec quicker than Thomas De Gendt. But what of Julian Alaphilippe?
Bernal a minute down
Egan Bernal finishes just 1min slower than Thomas De Gendt. Decent.
Kruijswijk finishes strong
Steven Kruijswijk posts a decent time, just 9sec down on Thomas De Gendt who is looking nervous sat in the hot seat as the current leader. Back out on the road and Julian Alaphilippe is around 5sec up on Geraint Thomas, but can the Frenchman hold on? It's going to be very, very close indeed.
Thomas vs Alaphilippe
Enric Mas posted an impressive time that was just +22sec shy of Thomas De Gendt fastest time of the day so far, but right now this individual time trial around Pau is all about two men: defending champion Geraint Thomas and current race leader Julian Alaphilippe. Quite unbelievably the man in yellow was faster than the Ineos rider at the two time splits. He will almost certainly keep hold of his maillot jaune, but can he hold this pace and upset the odds with the stage win?
Bad day for Yates
Nairo Quintana has finished his race and was around a minute down on Thomas De Gendt while Adam Yates was around another 30sec down. Not a great day in the saddle for the Briton, or for that matter lil' Nairo.
Alaphilippe is not giving up
Oh my, what is happening? Julian Alaphilippe is doing a great ride and was the fastest rider at the second time split. That's incredible!
Thomas is on the charge
And the defending champion Geraint Thomas has set the fastest time at the second split and it was quite an advantage: 13sec to be precise.
Pinot finishes strong
Thibaut Pinot was 13sec off the pace. That's not too bad from the Frenchman who will be preferring the hilly stages.
Alaphilippe looking good
Julian Alaphilippe was the fastest rider of the day at the first time split, but has the maillot jaune gone out too fast, too soon? The time trial is all about pacing and saving enough for the entire length of the course...
Urán goes close, but no cigar
Rigoberto Urán has just posted an incredible time, but the Colombian climber fell just short of Thomas De Gendt's benchmark. Excellent that from the EF Education First rider.
No party for Bardet
Romain Bardet was 1min 50sec slower than Thomas De Gendt.
The flying Dutchman
Good grief. Steven Kruijswijk is going incredibly well. The Dutchman was the fastest of the day at the first split; Geraint Thomas trailed by just 1sec so, as it stands, I would suggest the Welsh time trial specialist could nick this, unless the maillot jaune does something very special.
Bad day at the office for Martin
Dan Martin is having a stinker. I'm hearing he is in fact going slower than Romain Bardet which in itself is quite impressive. Jakob Fuglsang has completed his time trial and was 31sec down on Thomas De Gendt.
Pinot digging deep
Thibaut Pinot is doing a great job and, unsurprisingly, the Frenchman is getting huge cheers as he digs deep. He was 12sec down on Rigoberto Urán at the second split, but for Pinot today is all about limiting his losses. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana, Den) was just 3sec down on Pinot at the same point so decent performance thus far, but can from the 34 year-old sustain that power and pace all the way to the finishing line?
Porte falls short of De Gendt
Richie Porte was unable to match Thomas De Gendt, but did clock the second fastest time of the day - 9sec slower than the Belgian. Race leader Julian Alaphilippe is out on the course in his yellow skinsuit.
Thomas's time trial is under way
And the defending champion is out on the course, but can he win his first stage at this year's Tour de France?
Bardet does his bike change . . .
. . . and it took an eternity. Of course it did.
Urán starts well
Rigoberto Urán was 3sec down on Thomas De Gendt at the first split, as was Thibaut Pinot. Richie Porte, meanwhile, was 7sec down at the third split.
The final five
Emanuel Buchmann(Bora-Hansgrohe, Ger) is out on course and the German who starts the day fifth on general classification is being followed by Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma, Hol). Egan Bernal (Ineos, Col), Geraint Thomas (Ineos, GB) and the maillot jaune of Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step, Fra) to follow.
Bardet sinking like a stone . . .
Romain Bardet was 38sec down at the first time split. AT THE FIRST TIME SPLIT. That's just dreadful from the Ag2r-La Mondiale rider. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott, GB), by the way, is out on the course as is Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick Step, Spa).
Nairo Quintana(Movistar, Col), who I think has been looking really sharp at this year's Tour, is now out on the course. Meanwhile, Richie Porte was a single second short of Thomas De Gendt's time at the second split.
And next up is Martin . . .
Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates, Irl), who was out training with his cousin Nicholas Roche earlier this morning, is now out on the course.
Pinot rolls down the ramp . . .
. . . but can France's great hope make any gains today on the general classification? Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ, Fra) lost time in that windy day, but looked good before that and, indeed, was no slouch alongside his team-mates in the team time trial on the opening Sunday of the race.
Porte is flying
Richie Porte is going well and was just 1sec down on Thomas De Gendt at the first split. Impressive. Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First, Col), meanwhile, is out on the course. He's a half-decent time trial rider and this lumpy course could suit him.
Bardet gets his race under way . . .
. . . and the Frenchman who struggles in the race of truth has opted for a road bike, as opposed to a specialist time trial machine that almost every single other rider here today is using. Oh Romain.
Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic, Fra) is rolling now. By the way, a number of people, including the Tour de France itself, are reporting that Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale, Fra) will switch bikes just beyond the midway point in today's race. Apparently his thinking is that a heavier bike should help the flyweight climber gain time on the rolling course back into Pau.
Business end of the race
We are into the final 20 riders in today's race now. Mikel Landa (Movistar, Spa) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo, Aus) have rolled down the starting ramp. Next down is Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Gobert, Bel). By the way, the riders are setting off at two-minute gaps now.
Schachmann limps over the line
Earlier in his race Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe, Ger) had looked decent, but somewhere out on the course the German hit the deck. The 26 year-old who agonisingly missed out on winning the general classification at another thrilling edition of the Tour of the Basque Country in April, has bashed his right knee up pretty badly.
— Raoul (@LayLowLogician) July 19, 2019
Sagan the entertainer
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe, Svk) has completed his time trial and was almost three minutes down on Thomas De Gendt. Somehow methinks he was not taking his ride too seriously . . .
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 19, 2019
That climb, by the way, tops out at 17 per cent in gradient and Sagan just pulled a wheelie on a time trial bike on it. That's just illegal behaviour.
Van Aert has officially abandoned
No surprises to hear that Wout van Aet has abandoned the Tour de France. According to his team he is conscious and has a flesh wound to his right leg, presumably his upper thigh.
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) July 19, 2019
He's currently heading towards the hospital.
Jumbo-Visma tweet . . .
. . . but still no updates on Wout van Aert.
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) July 19, 2019
Van Aert still lying at the roadside
Wout van Aert remains at the roadside where he is surrounded by medical staff who are using the advertising hoarding to either shelter him from the sun or to give the injured rider some much-needed privacy. There's quite a bit of speculation circling – mainly out in the Weld West that is Twitter – about what exactly happened to Van Aert, but until we know exactly how the Belgian crashed and what his injuries are we will keep our counsel. All we can say is that it doesn't look too good for the Jumbo-Visma rider.
De Gendt sets new fastest time
What a performance from Thomas De Gendt. The Lotto-Soudal rider has just knocked Kasper Asgreen out of the park and off the hotseat – the breakaway specialist who eats watts for breakfast put a massive 16sec into the young Dane.
Van Aert is receiving attention
Wout van Aert is sat up and is receiving medical attention. Thomas De Gendt was forced into slowing slightly in order to pass Van Aert who was sat at the side of the road following his crash, but is on course to set a new fastest time.
Van Aert crasjes!
Wout van Aert has hit the deck and he went down very heavily. The young Belgian was navigating his way around a tight right-hander when he appeared to clip a barrier with his right shoulder. That's just dreadful news. I have no idea what injuries he will have sustained, but don't think he will be carrying on, his Tour could be over.
Battle of the Belgians
Wout van Aert was the fastest man at the second split . . . only for Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal, Bel) to go a massive – yes, 16sec – faster.
Pole rolls down . . .
Michal Kwiatkowski(Ineos, Pol) has rolled down the starting ramp, but I cannot see the former Polish national champion giving it 100 per cent here today. The Ineos rider will, I'm sure, be under strict instruction to keep something back ahead of Sunday's test on the Tourmalet.
Asgreen backing general classification riders to win stage
Kasper Asgreen, who is leading the race as it stands having set the fastest time of the day so far, has been speaking and he reckons the stage will be won by one of the riders chasing the general classification.
"Of course the legs were tired. We're in the second half of the Tour de France, so I think everyone's going to have tired legs, including me. But my legs felt surprisingly good today, so I'm happy with the TT I did," Asgreen said. "For sure the two climbs, you really have to go all in there and try to recover the best you can on the descents. Then you just ride with what you have left on the flat part to the finish. It wouldn't surprise me if one of the GC guys wins this time trial today. It's quite a hard course."
Van Aert on course for podium place
Wout van Aert was the third fastest rider at the first time split – a massive 17sec quicker than Kasper Asgreen at the same point. There's a long way to go yet, though.
Dowsett drops off virtual podium
Nelson Oliveira(Movistar, Por), the Portuguese national time trial champion, has leapfrogged Alex Dowsett into second place but despite putting in a decent shift the Movistar man did not look too impressed with his effort.
Van Aert clocks on
Wout van Aert has rolled down the ramp. The Jumbo-Visma rider who is dressed in the Belgian national time trial champion's jersey is one of the favourites to win today.
He's a very, very special talent this lad: he can sprint, time trial, ride the cobbles and the punchier stuff like we see at Strade Bianche. He's an all-rounder par excellence and one day will win the green jersey at the Tour de France, of that I am sure.
(Bad) Swiss timing
Swiss time trial champion Stefan Küng crosses the line, but the Groupama-FDJ rider will be disappointed to clock a time that was 58sec slower than Kasper Asgreen following a crash that led to him ripping his skinsuit. Incidentally, Küng is one of 11 national time trial champions in action her today. Th others? Tony Martin, Kasper Asgreen, Alex Dowsett, Luke Durbridge, José Gonçalves (Portugal), Wout van Aert (Belgium), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain), Daryl Impey (South Africa), Rein Taaramäe (Estonia) and Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan).
Yates (Simon) rolls down the ramp . . .
Yesterday's stage winner Simon Yates has just got his time trial under way. The Mitchelton-Scott rider won the first time trial of his career earlier this season at Paris-Nice, but he will not be repeating that here today. Instead one would imagine he will take it easy before relaying any information on the course and so forth back to his team management and, of course, his twin brother who will roll down the starting ramp at 4.07pm.
Not exactly sure what Bradley Wiggins has come dressed as today, but he knows what he's talking about when it comes to time trials and here he is discussing what it takes to make you a better tester:
"Once you start piecing those all together like a jigsaw you'll end up with the finished product." @SirWiggo has 3️⃣ key bits of advice for those seeking the perfect time trial ��♂️ pic.twitter.com/F0Hj0vYJ7N
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) July 19, 2019
Durbridge is off the pace
Luke Durbridge is clearly not working too hard out on this time trial course. The Mitchelton-Scott rider who will be expected to play a key role in protecting team-mate Adam Yates on the flatter sections of the road to Paris, was 1min 48sec slower than Kasper Asgreen at the second time check.
Luke Durbridge(Mitchelton-Scott, Aus), the Aussie national champion who managed to beat the erstwhile world time trial champion Rohan Dennis the lift that title, is out on the course, as is Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ, Swi) who somehow managed to crash.
Martin labours over the line
Wow. Tony Martin was 5min 53sec slower than Kasper Asgreen. The German was clearly keeping something in the tank for future battles.
Dowsett third best
Alex Dowsett has completed his ride, but was unable to threaten Kasper Asgreen's blistering benchmark time.
Asgreen sets the benchmark
Just seconds after Chad Haga crossed the line, Kasper Asgreen powered through with a time of 35min 52sec – a massive 31sec faster than the Sunweb man. One can only imagine Asgreen's time will be beaten later, perhaps by Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma, Bel) or Geraint Thomas – my two picks for the day – but that is a huge, huge ride.
�� The Danmark national Time Trial champion @k_asgreen sets the tempo with a time of 35'52''. ����
�� Le champion du Danemark du chrono Kasper Asgreen réalise le temps de référence en 35'52''. Un temps qui va sans doute tenir un peu. ���� pic.twitter.com/V0j722SmYw
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 19, 2019
Rolling Bak the years?
Lars Bak(Dimension Data, Den) was the last man to pass through the second time split and he was over 2min slower than the current pace-setter Kasper Asgreen. Incidentally, the last time Bak won a time trial was 4,040 days ago when he won his national title in 2008.
Dowsett loses more time
Not looking great for Alex Dowsett who was over 30sec down on Kasper Asgreen at the second time split. I'm not a huge fan or expert of time trial racing (I'm still scarred from riding the Tuesday night '10' as a child) but I would suggest that gap is almost unassailable now. Asgreen is clearly on fire here today.
Perez preparing for action
Not too long now until Anthony Perez (Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Fra) signs on for today's time trial. But before then he's been busy keeping his young fans happy. What a nice lad.
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 19, 2019
Alex Dowsett, by the way, was 10sec down on Kasper Asgreen at the first time split while Chad Haga was also faster than the Briton.
Asgreen is flying
Kasper Asgreen(Deceuninck-Quick Step, Den), the recently crowned Danish national time trial champion, has just sailed past Tony Martin.
A little like Martin, Asgreen has also been working on the front of the peloton on behalf of team-mates Julian Alaphilippe and Elia Viviani. Some had tipped the 24-year-old for a podium place today so again, it will be interesting to see how he sails.
Haga catches minute-man Martin
Chad Haga (Sunweb, US), who is no slouch at racing against the clock having won the recent final-day time trial at the Giro d'Italia, has caught his minute-man Tony Martin. Martin, of course, has been working tirelessly throughout the race pulling hard on the front for his team-mates and so may just be riding on fumes here today.
Best of British
Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin, GB), the six-time British national time trail champion, has just rolled down the starting ramp to get his race under way. It will be interesting to see how the Essex boy gets on today. Would be great to see him do well.
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 13 of the 106th edition of the Tour de France, the 27.2km individual time trial around the streets of Pau. That's right folks, today's stage is the race of truth, exciting eh?
The route around Pau is a lumpy little number. It features three time checks – Cériset (19.48km from the finish), Côte d'Esquillot (11.68km from the finish) and Jurançon which comes just 5.28km from the line.
Riders will set off down the starting ramp in reverse order of where they stand in the general classification, so the maillot jaune of Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step, Fra) will be the last man off (at 4.19pm, BST), just two minutes after defending champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos, GB) who starts the day second overall.
A handful of riders are already out on the course, including lanterne rouge Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert, Fra) who will not be expecting to do much today along with the four-time world time trial champion Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma, Ger).
Where are we?
Here's a reminder of the route of this year's Tour de France . . .
. . . and here are the details of each and every stage at this year's race:
As it stands . . .
Here's what the standings look like in the general, points, mountains, young rider and team classifications after 12 days of racing.
The Cycling Podcast: re-cap of yesterday's stage
The Tour de France reached the Pyrenees on Thursday and Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and François Thomazeau recap a day that saw another rider complete the full set of stage wins in the three grand tours.
There was a huge breakaway, a curious abandon and victory for Simon Yates. The team discuss all three stories and all the day’s other talking points before looking ahead to Friday’s time trial and La Course.
The Cycling Podcast is supported by Rapha and Science In Sport