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Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is the new race leader of the Tour de France, after race commissaires handed down a time penalty to Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) for an illegal feed in the final 20km of stage 5 to Privas.
The Frenchman has held a four-second lead over the Briton since stage 2, where he took his fifth Tour stage victory of his career into Nice as Yates finished third, one second down.
Post-stage replays showed Alaphilippe taking a bidon from a Deceuninck-QuickStep soigneur with 17.1km to go during an otherwise quiet stage 5.
UCI regulations state that ‘unauthorised feeding’ in the final 20km of a stage carries both a 200CHF fine and a 20-second time penalty per offence. Alaphilippe will therefore drop down to 16th place on the general classification.
“Apparently I took a feed in a non-authorised zone,” Alaphilippe said after the finish. “That’s a 20-second penalty so it’s Yates in the yellow jersey, normally, I don’t know. I’m waiting for the confirmation, for it to be official. If that’s the case, that’s how it goes. It’s the decision of the jury so I can’t do anything about it.
“Not at all. Not at all,” he added when asked if he felt he did something wrong.
“It was a very long and very boring stage, with a very nervous finale. I had to stay concentrated to defend the jersey and try and win the stage with Sam [Bennett], who’s in green, which is good news. But voila, if that’s how it is then no worries, tomorrow I’ll pick myself back up and we won’t talk about it anymore.”
Yates said that it wasn’t the way he would’ve wanted to take the yellow jersey, adding that he’ll continue to target stage victories – his stated goal for this Tour.
“I don’t think any rider would want to take the jersey like this,” he said. “I only just find out now that Julian had taken a late feed, but I don’t think, like I said, that anybody wants to take the jersey like this. I wanted to try something tomorrow, but I guess we’ll wear the jersey tomorrow now, but I’ll continue as normal and try and win stages.”
The 28-year-old, set to move to Ineos Grenadiers for 2021, was seen discussing the situation with Alaphilippe behind the podium after the stage. Yates said he was just trying to find out what had happened.
“I just asked him what happened because I only found out two minutes ago what happened. He just told me he took a feed or a bottle in the last 20km. Like I said before, this is not the way you want to take the jersey. We’ll just have to wear the jersey tomorrow and take it stage by stage.
“I was already on bus for a long time, I’d already had a shower and was ready to go home. But the director came up to me and told me I had to come up here [for the jersey ceremony.
“I think [stage 6 to Mont Aigoual] will be a big battle. I was gonna try something tomorrow anyway. I’m here for stages more than GC, so will continue like that.”