PRIVAS, FRANCE (REUTERS) – Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe lost the overall lead in the Tour de France to Briton Adam Yates after being handed a 20-second penalty for illegal feeding at the end of stage five, won by Belgian Wout van Aert on Wednesday (Sept 2).
Van Aert was fastest in the sprint at the end of the 183km ride from Gap that featured no breakaway, an almost unprecedented scenario in normal racing conditions in the modern era.
Dutchman Cees Bol was second and Sam Bennett took third place to become the first Irishman to wear the green jersey for the points classification since Sean Kelly 31 years ago.
Alaphilippe finished safe in the bunch but snatched a bottle about 17km from the line, breaking Tour rules which state that feeding is illegal within 20km of the finish.
“We’re checking now but it seems I took a bottle where I was not supposed to,” Alaphilippe said.
Yates leads Slovenian Primoz Roglic by three seconds in the standings after Alaphilippe dropped to 16th overall.
“It was maybe the most easy stage I’ve ever done in a cycling race because no breaks, no high pace,” said Van Aert, who on Tuesday did all the heavy work when Jumbo Visma team mate Roglic won the fourth stage.
“But everyone was pressing a lot at the end and it was hectic. I knew it was a stage that suited me and just so happy that I got the opportunity from the team to go for it and to finish it off was sweet,” added the Milan-Sanremo champion.
Thursday’s sixth stage is a 191km middle-mountain trek from Le Teil to the Mont Aigoual.
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