Tour de France Stage 7 Results

Dylan Teuns holds off Giulio Ciccone

Dylan Teuns holds off Giulio Ciccone

It turned out to be a good day for Geraint Thomas, with the Team Ineos rider gaining time on his rivals as well as team-mate Egan Bernal - and Friday will be about seeing whether the defending champion can continue his charge up the leaderboard.

Ciccone, who cites former Tour champions Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali among his models, picked up bike racing as an 8-year-old after spending hours watching the Tour and the Giro on TV. "I thought the steep climbs weren't my cup of tea", said Thomas.

"I know that the terrain will suit him well and that six seconds is nothing", said Ciccone, nicknamed Il Gekko for his fast climbing abilities. I was expecting others - Nairo Quintana, Egan, Richie Porte, Adam Yates - would jump up there.

A Tour rookie, Ciccone was beaten for the stage victory by Dylan Teuns at the summit of the leg-breaking climb of the Planche des Belles Filles, yet managed to take the race lead from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe on Thursday.

Belgium's Dylan Teuns celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 160 kilometers (100 miles) with start in Mulhouse and finish in La Planche des Belles Filles, France, Thursday, July 11, 2019.

Thomas waited until first Mikel Landa, then Thibaut Pinot and, finally, the overnight leader Alaphilippe himself had attacked before showing his form was back after a nasty fall in the Tour de Suisse in June.

"It is one of those climbs where you have to patient". We took the lead very early but it was good.

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"This season Giulio has already made a big step, but we are convinced he still has a great margin of improvement and I am curious to see where his limits are". "I'm still very motivated for this Tour but I have to try to understand what happened and why I was stuck like that". "But the Tour de France is very odd and anything can happen", Ciccone warned, clearly unruffled by Alaphilippe's recent palmares and the support of home crowd. "The plan is the same", the Italian said after the stage.

To add to his torment, Teunissen and Groenewegen are Tour roommates, meaning he had to spend the night with the yellow jersey in his room.

Bevin is the first competitor to be forced out of this Tour.

"With a block headwind, every time the TV motorbike goes in front of the peloton the speed goes up", the UAE Team Emirates rider said.

"I lost a bit of time on the dirt section but I'm not anxious".

Stage 7 on Friday will kick off from Belfort, winding its way through 230km to Chalon-sur-Saone.

"It's an incredible day".

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