Julian Alaphilippe has vowed to keep the yellow jersey for as long as possible but has played down his chances of taking it all the way to Paris (Alaphilippe 16/1 to win the Tour de France).

Stage 9 was a day of relative calm for the Tour favourites, as the win came from the breakaway, which contained no general classification contenders, with Mitchelton-Scott rider Daryl Impey taking it.

Monday’s stage 10 is one for the sprinters and should be another comfortable day for Alaphilippe and co, before the first rest day of the Tour on Tuesday.

Soon after the fireworks will begin as the peloton heads to the mountains, and the Frenchman, who rides for Deceuninck-QuickStep, admits he will struggle to keep hold of the maillot jaune for much longer.

“It’s clear that the hardest is still to come,” Alaphilippe said. “I’ve already reconnoitred the route and I know what’s coming up with tough stages at very high altitude.

“The second part of the Tour is very difficult. My general classification ambitions were non-existent before the Tour and the maillot jaune hasn’t changed a lot in that regard. I’m just going to try to keep the jersey as long as I can and test my limits.”

Alaphilippe remains 23 seconds clear of Trek-Segafredo’s Giulio Ciccone at the top the overall standings, but with Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal in touch, the Team Ineos duo still look the ones to beat (Thomas 4/5, Bernal 9/2 – Tour de France Outright).

Stage 10 takes the race over 217.5km from Saint-Flour to Albi, with Dylan Groenewegen 2/1 to pick up his second stage win of the Tour, while Elia Viviani, who is also looking for number two, is 5/2.

Australia’s Caleb Ewan is looking for his first after a couple of near misses and is 7/2, with green jersey holder Peter Sagan 11/2.

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