Julian Alaphilippe defends Yellow Jersey as Egan Bernal attacks

The darling of France hangs on to keep the Yellow jersey as Egan Bernal attacks and moves up to second place overall. Nairo Quintana wins the stage as Colombia celebrates.

Movistar, Team Ineos and Colombia will be celebrating tonight as Egan Bernal attacked the Yellow jersey group to take time out of his rivals on the steep slopes of the Col du Galibier.

Quintana had already attacked his breakaway rivals to solo to the top of the 2,600 final climb and descend down to the finish line.

Behind in the Yellow jersey group, Bernal attacked his rivals with a few kilometres to go. Kruiswijk, Buchmann, Pinot and Alaphlippe didn't respond as Bernal quickly opened up a 30 second lead.

Pinot took up the pace, and then Thomas counter attacked.

The pace was so high that Alaphilippe was distanced and crested the climb 24 seconds behind the Pinot group.

Alaphilippe descended like a demon and caught Pinot, Thomas, Buchmann and Kruiswijk.

He overtook them on the steeper slopes of the descent.

Up front, Quintana crossed the line to take the stage, with Romain Bardet next across the line, who took the Polka Dot jersey from Tim Wellens.

Bernal crossed the line 30 seconds ahead of the Yellow jersey group to overhaul Pinot, Kruiswijk and Thomas and move up to second overall 1m 30s behind Alaphilippe.

Geraint Thomas said after the stage "We wanted a hard pace, and unfortunately we were running out of guys and it didn't seem quite hard enough, so the call was made for Egan to jump and hopefully that would kick it off, but it didn't really. Enric Mas rode and then they were just riding tempo again. That’s why I had a little dig to see if anything would happen, but they obviously followed me over the top."

Egan Bernal said afterwards "I think ii was a good idea. We need to gain time on Alaphilippe, I don't care what happened with G. He's my teammate, and we need to gain time on Alaphilippe. You never know how the other guys are feeling, and if you make the race hard maybe at some point Alaphilippe can be dropped. I think we did a really good race today. These are decisions you have to take in the race, and it depends from day to day how you're feeling. I have to say thanks to G for being honest today."

Tomorrow's stage is another really tough stage with five categorized climbs including the highest road pass in the Alps, the Col de l'Iseran at 2,770m above sea level.

Expect a lot of attacks as GC contenders try to take the Yellow jersey from Alaphilippe.

VIDEO: 2019 Tour de France Stage 18 Highlights

2019 Tour de France Stage 18 Top 10

1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 5:34:15
2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:35
3 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:02:28
4 Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:02:58
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:03:00
6 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:04:46
7 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
8 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos
9 Serge Pauwels (Bel) CCC Team
10 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:05:18

2019 Tour de France General classification after stage 18

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 75:18:49
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos 0:01:30
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos 0:01:35
4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:47
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:50
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:14
7 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:54
8 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:54
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:05:33
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:58

 
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