Thomas makes history by winning Tour de France 12th stage

Welshman Thomas, of Team Sky, took the lead of the race on Wednesday with victory atop La Rosiere on what was the second day in the Alps. "Then we slowed up and I went down".

Dumoulin, the 2017 Giro champion, refused to see the day as a lost opportunity to shake Team Sky, the dominant force in the peloton.

Thomas now leads by one minute 25 seconds from Froome, with Dumoulin a further 19 seconds back in third place.

"Since the start of the race, I've been saying that Thomas is the strongest at Sky".

But Sky kept their powder dry until Thomas launched his move.

"In my eyes, Froomey is still our leader", said Thomas.

Twice podium finisher Romain Bardet, hoping to become the first Frenchman to win the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985, has suffered from bad luck with four ill-timed punctures, including three in Sunday's stage to Roubaix. It cracked me up because I knew he was watching.

"Dave will certainly be in both of their ears and be telling them they can both win it, as a way of motivating them, as a way of playing these cards deep into the race and let the natural selections come in to play". For me, whatever happens now it is a super successful Tour.

Fueled by previous disappointments and thoughts of his ill father watching on TV, Alaphilippe timed his break perfectly and powered to victory on the first day in the mountains, crossing the line alone, and finishing well ahead of his rivals for his first Tour win. "It was just a case of following (teammate) Egan (Bernal)", added Thomas.

Tour de France 2018 - Julian Alaphilippe wins Stage 10 as tour hits the mountains

"Then it will depend on the situation and what's going on in the race". Today I went up the road and "G" sat on Dumoulin which worked out really well in the final.

It appears Sky was biding its time.

Having started the race under a cloud, former five-time victor Bernard Hinault calling for the peloton to strike if controversy-tinged Froome turned a pedal in anger, the defending champion said he has weathered the pre-race storm.

But it was the yellow jersey wearer who pulled away to win the iconic Alpe d'Huez stage, delivering another emphatic statement of his General Classification credentials as he extended his lead over Froome to one minute and 39 seconds.

"It's unreal", Thomas said aftrewards. We were low on numbers. Jakob Fuglsang of Astana was next at 3:12.

The 158.5-kilometer (98.5-mile) from Lake Annecy incorporated climbs over four major Alpine passes before the final descent sprinting to the finish at Le Grand Bornand. "I managed to do it last year and to do it two years in a row is really nice".

Tuesday's stage has three category one climbs plus the Montee du plateau des Glieres which uncategorised and ridden off tarmac!

When it did, there were plenty of high-profile riders in it, including Kruijswijk, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and white jersey Pierre Latour (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

  • Julie Sanders