Thibaut Pinot wins Tour de France's 14th stage; Julian Alaphilippe retains lead

Julian Alaphilippe smashing it up the final climb to the finish during the Stage 13 27km ITT in Pau at the 106th Tour de France

Julian Alaphilippe smashing it up the final climb to the finish during the Stage 13 27km ITT in Pau at the 106th Tour de France

At the end of the 14th stage, however, it was Alaphilippe who extended his overall lead over the defending champion to more than two minutes to give the host nation real hopes of producing its first race victor since Bernard Hinault in 1985.

The race concludes July 28th in Paris, so Alaphilippe isn't getting ahead of himself. "The hard work pays off".

"It was not the best day", Thomas said, coming to a stop on the historic pass, 2,115 meters above sea level.

Thibaut Pinot won Stage 14 up the legendary ascent in the Pyrenees, making amends for a disaster on Stage 10, when he lost lots of time. "All in all, I'm quite satisfied, as it could have been worse, but of course it could always be better - unless you win", he said.

Thomas hinted he may not be well, after the stage.

The length of this section of the race, 117.5 kilometers (73 miles), was shortened slightly after a demonstration by farmers that was likely noted by French President Emmanuel Macron, who took in Saturday's racing.

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Surging from the mist, Pinot jumped away from a small group 200 m from the line to beat yellow jersey holder Alaphilippe and third-placed Steven Kruijswijk of the Netherlands by six seconds. In two days, with a win in the time trial and a strong second-place on the Tourmalet, the Frenchman has put 50 seconds of extra daylight between him and the Welshman. "I just gave everything, especially in the first part, which was really good for me".

After finishing Stage 13 second, Thomas said: "It felt like I was just overheating a bit, trying to deal with that, but that's not an excuse it's the same for everyone".

"It was controlled but the last 8km or so, when I really wanted to step on it, I didn't have that last five per cent. I just thought I should ride my own pace rather than follow them and blow up on the steepest bit at the end", Thomas added. It was a tough day out there. I just did everything that I can and I want to enjoy it.

Thomas drifted behind a group with teammate Egan Bernal, Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), Mikel Landa (Movistar), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alaphilippe and stage victor Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).

Sunday's 15th stage from Limoux to Foix Prat d'Albis is another draining mountain climb and even longer at 185 kilometers (115 miles).

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