Julian Alaphilippe holds on to Tour de France lead as Quintana wins stage 18 | Sport



Tour de France leader Julian Alaphilippe hung on over three Category 1 climbs before catching up with his general classification rivals on the final descent, losing just five seconds of his lead as Egan Bernal overtook Geraint Thomas to go second.

Thursday’s stage, the first of three mountain stages in the Alps that will decide the winner of this year’s race, was won by Nairo Quintana (Movistar). The Colombian picked up a morale-boosting stage win, pulling clear of Romain Bardet on the Galibier climb after a large breakaway group was slowly whittled down.

Team Ineos’s Bernal was the only general classification contender to take any time from Alaphilippe, and climbed above teammate Geraint Thomas in the overall stadings. The Colombian trails Alaphilippe by 1m 30s, with Thomas five seconds back.

There are now just two more Alpine stages for Alaphilippe to negotiate in order to become the first home winner of the Tour de France since Bernard Hinault in 1985.

Jeremy Whittle’s race report will follow