Belgium's Teuns wins Tour de France Stage 6

Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe battle for seconds on the line of stage 6 at the Tour de France

New Zealand's George Bennett, also of Jumbo-Vizma moved up to fourth place overall, 47 seconds back of Ciccone, while Geraint Thomas, a Welsh cyclist for Team Ineos, the defending champion, is fifth overall, 49 seconds behind.

The 24-year-old reputation as a climber was enhanced at his home race as he won a tough mountain stage this spring in addition to the best climber's jersey. "I thought the steep climbs weren't my cup of tea", said Thomas. "But because of my strong condition, the team sent me to the Tour in support of Richie Porte and to get some experience".

"It was a decent day", Thomas said.

Italy's Giulio Ciccone celebrates with the overall leader's yellow jersey on the podium, at the end of the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 160 kilometers (100 miles) with start in Mulhouse and finish in La Planche des Belles Filles, France, Thursday, July 11, 2019.

As Dylan Teuns won stage six from the breakaway and young Italian Giulio Ciccone snatched the yellow jersey off the shoulders of Julian Alaphilippe, it was the sight of Thomas defying his own predictions and bursting clear of the main contenders at the last which caught the eye. While Thomas, Alaphilippe and local hero Thibaut Pinot, widely seen this year as a potential victor rather than a mere contender, powered clear to the finish line, they also opened clear daylight on rivals such as Quintana, Jakob Fuglsang and Mikel Landa, who paid for his earlier attack halfway up the seven kilometre climb.

"It's one of those climbs where you really have to be patient", the 33-year-old Thomas said after the dust had settled.

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"It was reassuring to see Geraint Thomas at this level", said Ineos sports director Nicolas Portal, describing the Welshman's performance as "morale boosting".

Bardet, who lost a minute to his rivals in Sunday's team time trial, is now over two minutes behind Thomas. I was a bit boxed in with 500 metres to go and I asked Mike (Teunissen) to make space for me and he put his life on the line to do it.

"I will try to understand what happened". The current leader of the General Classification in the Tour de France will remain in the team until at least 2021.

"It feels odd, to have the yellow jersey on my back feels so unusual." said Ciccone.

"I lost a bit of time on the dirt section but I'm not anxious".

Dylan Groenewegen claimed a sprint victory in Chalon-sur-Saone but only after a 230km stage seven from Belfort which took the peloton - hardly keen to exert themselves after Thursday's brutal day in the Vosges mountains and with the challenges of the Massif Central to come - more than six hours to tick off.

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