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Viviani claims his first career stage win

11 July, 2019, 15:20 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Bahrain-Merida on the start ramp ahead of their stage effort

The sprint finish meant there was no change in the general classification, which Viviani's Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mate Julian Alaphilippe leads after his superb solo attack into Epernay on Monday.

That was the product of a slight gap between the pair as they crossed the line in Epernay, enough for them to be deemed in different groups on the road.

The first true mountain stage follows on Thursday with a finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles, where Chris Froome, out of this year's Ineos team with injury, won in 2012, his then Sky captain Bradley Wiggins going on to win the Tour.

"My father and mother were on the finish line today, they were set to leave yesterday but finally chose to stay because the stage was for sprinters", Viviani said.

"I just needed to do my job in the last few hundred meters".

"Obviously five seconds - it is nice not to lose that".

"It wasn't a five-second gap, though, was it?" he insisted. I felt good so I accelerated in the Mutigny climb but I didn't think I'd go alone.

"If anyone understands the sport, there is 30m gap. Geraint sat up a little bit, he thought people were trying to come around him and that is it. People are trying to make out that it is a five-second gap and it is not". The five seconds makes no difference.

Viviani - who won omnium gold at the 2016 Olympics - came out on top after fantastic work from his team led by current leader Alaphilippe, who selflessly helped set the stage for the final sprint in the train.

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The Italian sprinter, frustrated to leave the Giro d'Italia empty-handed in May, took the first pure sprint opportunity of this year's Tour as he edged out UAE Team Emirates' Alexander Kristoff on the line.

"It means a lot", said Viviani. Probably, I can't believe it.

"It was truly the big goal of this season".

"I think in this year he's here to do exactly what he's doing and he's doing it absolutely brilliantly, and I can only stand back and applaud what he did yesterday", said Team Ineos principal Dave Brailsford, the man behind the British outfit's six Tour titles in the last seven years.

"I enjoyed every kilometre today and at the end we got a lovely victory so it was incredible", Alaphilippe said.

"I've got the green jersey but I haven't got a stage win yet, I'll play it day by day - it's a long way to Paris", said the Slovak star after pulling on the green jersey again.

Viviani has now posted stage wins at all three Grand Tours, including four at the Giro and three at the Spanish Vuelta.

He completed the 213.5 kilometres route from Reims to Nancy in a time of 5 hours 9min 20sec.

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