Brailsford sees risk in attempting to unseat Tour leader Alaphilippe

By Ben Spratt 24 July 2019 6
Brailsford sees risk in attempting to unseat Tour leader Alaphilippe

Dave Brailsford acknowledges Julian Alaphilippe may be able to ease to Tour de France glory if nobody risks impacting their own General Classification bid by attacking the leader.

Home hopeful Alaphilippe leads the GC battle by one minute and 35 seconds heading into stage 17, with Team INEOS star and defending champion Geraint Thomas in second.

INEOS also have Egan Bernal in fifth, two minutes and two seconds back, as they look to claim the yellow jersey for a fifth consecutive year.

But team boss Brailsford is waiting on another contender to take a risk, damaging Alaphilippe's hopes but potentially also their own in a tense final week.

"We're the only team with two riders high up on the GC," he said ahead of Wednesday's racing. "I think you've just got to adapt to the situation.

"There's not a single tactic that you can just deploy. It just evolves as the day evolves. It's almost minute by minute. You've got to be opportunistic with it.

"On the one hand, we want to put time into Alaphilippe and, on the other hand, we still want to race against the other guys in the GC.

"It's interesting, to be honest, and challenging. It's a nice position to be in.

"There are two challenges. One is the effort needed to get rid of Alaphilippe. If they don't make it hard enough then he'll stay there and win the race.

"Equally, no one wants to make that effort and then not have the energy to do the GC.

"It feels like there are two different races. One to win the race and then taking responsibility to get rid of Alaphilippe. So far no one has.

"That's why Elia Viviani [Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mate] was riding over the mountains, but if that continues Alaphilippe could win the race."

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Ben Spratt