FOIX – Thibaut Pinot emerged as the strongest of the main contenders to win the Tour de France after dominating his rivals for the second successive day in the 15th stage, a 185-km mountain battle won by Briton Simon Yates on Sunday.
The Frenchman, who claimed victory at top of the iconic Col du Tourmalet on Saturday, left everyone gasping for air with a brutal attack seven kilometres from the finish in the final ascent to the Prat d'Albis.
He crossed the line 33 seconds behind Yates, who prevailed from the day's breakaway for a second stage win as his fellow Briton, defending champion Geraint Thomas lost further ground.
France's Julian Alaphilippe was among those dropped but he retained the overall leader's yellow jersey going into Monday's second rest day.
"It's not a surprise that I cracked against the best climbers at the end of the second week, having given so much since the start," world number one Alaphilippe, who has never raced for the general classification, told reporters.