The 2020 Tour de France has its first major controversy.
Overnight leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) saw his grip on the yellow jersey pried open not by any rivals on the road, but by the race’s UCI race jury. Officials penalized Alaphilippe 20 seconds for reportedly taking a feed inside 20km to go in the stage. The decision bumped Alaphilippe out of yellow, and vaulted second-place rider Adam Yates into the new new lead.
Alaphilippe was caught off-guard by the news.
“I’m only hearing right now that I might have a penalty, something about an illegal feed,” he said. “There is not much I can do about it. Attack tomorrow to take it back? We’ll see.”
UCI rules forbid riders from taking bottles or food from the team car inside the 20km-to-go barrier, and the official rulebook says the penalty carries a 20-second penalty as well as a monetary fine.
The move bumped Alaphilippe into 16th place, 16 seconds behind Yates.
After learning of the news, Yates said he did not want to take the race led in such a manner.
Yates said he was already showered and sitting on the Mitchelton-Scott team bus when he learned what had transpired.
“I don’t think anybody wants to take yellow jersey like this, you want to do it by winning or taking time, it is what it is,” Yates said. “I was on bus, showered, waiting for last few guys, and we would have gone to hotel, someone called back, they said you might have yellow – even then I only found out when I went to the podium – it was a time penalty for taking a feed.”
This story is developing.