Mountain bike rider leaps peleton at Tour de France

Chris Froome 'optimistic' as Tour de France heads for the mountains

Chris Froome 'optimistic' as Tour de France heads for the mountains

"That means they will have only six riders who can "ride" with other teams attacking, that's going to be a lot more hard than with eight".

Froome recovered quickly to rejoin teammate Thomas but the Team Sky riders had fallen nearly seven minutes behind Van Avermaet and the breakaway group.

We've seen this before on the Tour de France, but it never fails to thrill - a cyclist jumping over the peloton.

Speaking during The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport, Sir Brad said that Brailsford would "certainly get in both their ears and make them both think that they can win it as a way of motivating them" and would be keen to keep both riders high on General Classification for as long as possible into the race until a natural selection occurs leaving one rider as outright team leader.

The former Team Sky rider Mikel Nieve had thought he had the stage win in hand but Thomas broke with under 6km of the 108.5km stage to go to catch the breakaway group of Tom Dumoulin and Damiano Caruso and then power past them and Nieve shortly before the line.

Alejandro Valverde of Movistar moved into third overall at 3:10 off the pace.

Asked about yellow, he added: 'I knew it was a good chance but I didn't know how everybody else was going to ride.

Chris Froome 'optimistic' as Tour de France heads for the mountains

What is Team Sky's strategy now, with Alpe d'Huez looming Thursday?

"It's great for us to have those options to play when it comes down to it, especially looking at some of our rivals who have got two or three options in their team", Froome said.

After an opening week of relatively flat routes, the first significant ascents begin with four categorized climbs as well as the punishing Mont é e du plateau des Gilères, which features a six-kilometre climb at an incline of 11.2 per cent.

Alaphilippe now leads the King of the Mountain standings and will wear the polka dot jersey during Stage 11.

Or, of course, we could see a facsimile of Tuesday's race when a strong group of riders chipped off the front from the start before it was whittled down to just one: Julian Alaphilippe who won his first ever Tour stage.

Sprinting standout Mark Cavendish, meanwhile, finished far behind and missed the time limit, ending his Tour.

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