Julian Alaphilippe wins Stage 10 of Tour de France

Greg van Avermaet

It would have been nice to take (yellow) but it's the Tour de France.

No clear favorite has emerged from the opening block of racing as all the top riders, with the exception of Richie Porte, are still in contention on the first rest day before grueling stages in the Alps.

If it surprised most, it did at least follow a pattern as Van Avermaet used attack as the best form of defence when spending three days in yellow in 2016 - and Thomas was not among those caught out.

Team Sky's Chris Froome has finished the 12th stage of the Tour de France in the fourth position and maintains the second place in the General Classification. "But it was still far from the finish of the race so it wasn't too insane and I was able to get back in".

Asked if he expects to keep the red polka dot jersey given to the so-called King of the Mountains, Alaphilippe replied, "I don't think so".

Thomas added that it was speculative to discuss it before a single mountain stage.

He has, however, limited the damage, unlike last year's runner-up Rigoberto Uran, who lost 1:28 on Sunday after crashing.

"Maybe if I'm still right there after Alpe d'Huez (on Thursday), it's a bit different then. It's a proper climbers stage". "I'm certainly not getting carried away".

Liverpool players on the move
Silva acknowledges going back-to-back will be tough due to the strength and improvement of the opposition. When asked if he was confident of a challenge, the 55-year-old replied: "I don't answer your question".

"There wasn't a chance in hell I was going to win today".

An eventful stage also saw Italy's Vincenzo Nibali knocked from his bike as fans crowded by the roadside, denting the overall hopes of the Bahrain-Merida man who won the Tour de France in 2014.

"Dave will certainly be in both of their ears and be telling them they can both win it, as a way of motivating them, as a way of playing these cards deep into the race and let the natural selections come in to play". I think it's great for us to have those options to be able to play when it comes down to it, especially looking at rivals that have two or three options within their teams.

Wiggins added of Brailsford: "He's quite self-serving".

The differences between the main challengers were essentially made in the team time trial in the second stage.

But Froome rejected any comparison between that race and this, saying: "It's a totally different situation (to 2012)".

For Froome, the 158.5-km trek from Annecy was one day ticked off his to-do list as the Briton remained in a flawless position to become the first rider in 20 years to achieve a Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double.

"We'll see how these next few days go really", said the 32-year-old, who is expected to sign a new three-year deal with the team.

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