On the steep climb to the finish here in Foix, Thibaut Pinot picked off his rivals one by one like a sniper. First Geraint Thomas and Steven Kruijswijk cracked as the Frenchman attacked. Then the yellow jersey of Julian Alaphilippe was left behind. Next the gutsy Emanuel Buchmann released his grip. The last one to go was Egan Bernal, Team Ineos’s prodigiously talented 22-year-old, who had momentarily grimaced and stared down at the road for just a moment, and looked back up to see Pinot riding away.
Just as he triumphed so spectacularly on the Col du Tourmalet 24 hours earlier, Pinot repeated the trick here to announce himself as the strongest man in the mountains. Next comes a rest day and then a stage for the sprinters before this race takes to the Alpine clouds, and right now Pinot is the man carrying all the momentum heading into those days which will decide the destination of the maillot jaune.
Simon Yates won the stage itself, producing his second brilliant display within a few days to clinch his second win of the Tour. He came to the Tour de France to serve his twin brother Adam in an ambitious bid for the yellow jersey, but instead it is Simon who has brought their Mitchelton-Scott team glory.
Pinot crossed the finish line 33 seconds later with Movistar’s Mikel Linda – who like Yates is no threat to the general classification. Bernal and Buchmann were another 20 seconds back, before Thomas, Kruijswijk and finally Alaphilippe crossed the line. Alaphilippe keeps the yellow jersey for another day, but Pinot is coming for him.
Full report to follow...