Alaphilippe wins the first Brutal Alpine Stage and takes the Polka Dot Jersey
Greg Van Avermaet stuck out in the breakaway to hold onto the Yellow Jersey, as Team Sky decimated the main peloton
The tenth stage of the French race was the first glimpse of the High Alps , 159 kilometres with three first category climbs, one first and one fourth and one 'Hors Category' - beyond category.
Today's stage was fast and furious, even in the 9 km neutralised start around Lake Annecy, attacks started from the gun and eventually a large break of 21 riders including Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida), Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step), Serge Pauwels, Rudy Molard and Arthur Vichot (Groupama-FDJ), Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Lilian Calmejane and Rein Taaramäe (Direct Energie), Guillaume Martin and Thomas Degand (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) form the front group.
It became clear Sagan was in to sweep up the intermediate sprint points, however, no one was sure what Van Avermaet was doing. It became clear he was in it for the long haul, hoping to stay away in the breakawayand stay in the Yellow Jersey.
Behind, Team Sky set the pace with Movistar and UAE Emirates following, it pretty much ended up with Team Sky doing all the work, setting a high tempo.
Ahead, Sagan took the maximum sprint points to increase his advantage in the Green Jersey. He continued in the breakaway which split, but, built up a lead of over six minutes.
Julian Alaphilippe took maximum KOM points on the first climb of the fourth category Col du Bluffy.
Rudy Molard took maximum points at the top of the first category climb of the Col de Croix Fry, the breakaway didn't contain Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), who lost the Polka Dot jersey.
The "Hors Category" climb of the day, the Col des Glières, was a 6km haul at an average of 11.2%, with 2km of gravel road at the summit, was crested first by Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), who attacked from out of the breakaway.
Behind, Chris Froome (Sky) suffered a puncture on the graveled climb, but was back on quickly.
With 36 kilometres to go, Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) attacked Team Sky, who were leading the peloton, as did Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic), but was reeled back in such was Team Sky's incredible pace, that saw more casualties, as riders cracked and dropped of the back of the main peloton.
Up front, Taraaramäe took the lead on the penultimate climb of the day, the first category Col de Romme, with Alaphilippe, who took the KOM points taking the lead in the mountain classification, the Polka Dot jersey.
On the descent, the Frenchman soloed away from Taaramäe, who chased him.
Alaphilippe gritted his teeth and crested the top of the Col de la Colombiere to the deliight of the French crowded alone.
Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) attacked out of the Team Sky led peloton, but was reeled in again on the descent. Team Sky had dramatically reduced the sixe of the peloton, none of theother GC contenders had any domestiques. Rigoberto Uran was the first GC casualty who cracked before the top. There were around 20-30 riders left in the reduced peloton by the top of the colombiere.
The Frenchman, who rides for Quick-Step Floors, crossed the finish line to huge cheers from the French crowds and celebrated his second stage victory in a Grand Tour after winning a stage at the Vuelta a España last year.
Van Avermaet did an incredible job in the High Mountains, to retain the Yellow Jersey for another day.
Stage 11 on Wednesday July 18 from Albertville to La Rosiere is a short 108 km Mountain stage. The first mountain finish, it's predicted that this short, sharp, brutal stage will be an attack festival from start to finish and only the strongest will contend the finale up to La Rosiere.
Two HC's climbs of the Montee de Bisanne and the Col du Pre kickoff the sufferfest as the climbing specialists launch long range attacks.
The domestique's of the strongest GC teams will have a difficult task of controlling the race and some GC contenders could find themselves all alone early on in this brutal stage. The beautiful secnery and views from the Cormet de Roseland will be a blur fror the GC contenders and they hit the technical descent trying to cram in as much food and water as possible before they reach the finale up La Rosiere.
Don't miss this stage, whomever wins this stage could pull on the Yellow Jersey.
VIDEO: 2018 Tour de France Stage 8 Flash Summary
2018 Tour de France Stage 8 Top 10
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 4:25:27
2 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:34
3 Rein Taaramäe (Est) Direct Energie 0:01:40
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:44
5 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
6 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 0:02:24
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:23
8 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
9 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
2018 Tour de France GC Top 10 after Stage 10
1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 40:34:28
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:02:22
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:10
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:03:12
5 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 0:03:20
6 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:03:21
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:03:27
10 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:03:36