Albi - Dutch rookie Wout van Aert won Stage 10 of the Tour de France on Monday as Julian Alaphilippe extended his overall lead after a blistering late charge split the peloton.
Yellow jersey wearer Alaphilippe launched the attack from 38km out, where narrow road and a crosswind created perfect conditions for the devastating attack.
Defending champion Geraint Thomas and his powerful Ineos team leapt into the fray in what turned into a rampage all the way to the quaint Tarn town of Albi.
Pre-stage title pretenders Richie Porte, Thibaut Pinot, Jakob Fuglsang, Rigoberto Uran all lost 1:40, while Movistar's Mikel Landa lost over 2 minutes.
Frenchman Alaphilippe leads second placed Thomas by 1:12, a second Ineos rider, Egan Bernal, is at 1:16, and van Aert's team-mate Steven Kruijswijk is another 11 seconds off in fourth.
Pinot, who started in third, dropped to 11th, 2:33 behind his countryman.
"We knew there was a chance of a split," said the 27-year-old former soldier Alaphilippe.
"I have my ambitions, and we will defend this jersey every day.
Ineos boss Dave Brailsford said the stage went exactly as he had planned.
"I feel like we just scored a goal," said Brailsford.
"It's really rare that you put that much time into so many top guys," he said.
"This race is like no other, if you lose your attention you can end up losing major time, and that's what happened to all those guys."
"We saw the weather and spoke about this in the pre-race briefing," said the Briton who has plotted six Tour de France victories from the last seven.
Thomas, the 2018 champion looked like the cat that got the cream.
"It was just a positioning error from them and they lose a minute and a half. That's how it goes," he explained.
The 22-year-old Bernal takes the best young rider's white jersey.
"It was wild, but that's the Tour, every day is super-hard here and anything can happen," said the slightly built Bernal, who proved again here he can keep up with the burly riders who do well in crosswinds.
Nairo Quintana of Movistar was all smiles too, after finishing in the mini-peloton after an exhausting long-range dash.
"I was fortunate to be aware of what was happening, I feel lucky in a way, that's racing," said Quintana.
Jumbo Visma's Dutch stage winner van Aert claimed his first Tour de France victory beating top sprinters drained by the high-speed run in.
On his debut Tour, van Aert, who also won two stages on the Criterium du Dauphine after converting from cyclo-cross, is the latest break out star on an unpredictable 2019 Tour.
For Jumbo Visma, it was the third individual stage victory this year, following Mike Teunissen and Dylan Groenewegen. The Dutch outfit also won the team time trial.
"That's three stage wins for us so far," said the 24-year-old multiple cyclo-cross world champion.
"It was great for me and Stevie (Kruijswijk)," said van Aert, after he pipped Elia Viviani at the line.
"I came from the back with a really fast launch, I planned it that way because it's the fastest way to finish.
Slovak star Peter Sagan, the best-paid rider in the peloton at €4 million per season, won in Albi six years ago but finished fifth on Monday.
On a 217.5km run that embarked from the breathtaking vantage point of the citadel of Saint Flour, it was the crosswinds rather than the three hills that blew away the chances of stage 10's many losers.
The Tour reached its halfway point ahead of the first rest day ON Tuesday, before a flat run to Toulouse serves as a prelude to some major high-altitude racing.
Results from stage 10 of the tour de France raced over 217km between Saint-Flour and Albi:
1. Wout van Aert (BEL/JUM) 4hrs 49mins 39sec 2. Elia Viviani (ITA/DEC) same time, 3. Caleb Ewan (AUS/LOT) s.t., 4. Michael Matthews (AUS/SUN) s.t., 5. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOR) s.t., 6. Jasper Philipsen (BEL/UAE) s.t., 7. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/BAH) s.t., 8. Matteo Trentin (ITA/MIT) s.t, 9. Oliver Naesen (BEL/ALM) s.t., 10. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/CCC) s.t., 11. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/DEC) s.t., 12. Geraint Thomas (GBR/INE) s.t., 13. Mads Wuertz (DEN/KAT) s.t., 14. Egan Bernal (COL/INE) s.t., 15. Maximiliano Richeze (ARG/DEC) s.t., 16. Patrick Konrad (AUT/BOR) s.t., 17. Cees Bol (NED/SUN) s.t., 18. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/JUM) s.t., 19. Enric Mas (ESP/DEC) s.t., 20. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) s.t.,
21. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) s.t., 45. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) at 1min 40sec, 48. Rigoberto Uran (COL/EF1) 1:40, 49. Richie Porte (AUS/TRE) 1:40, 51. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 1:40, 55. Mikel Landa (ESP/MOV) 2:09.
1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Deceuninck) 43hrs 27min 15sec, 2. Geraint Thomas (GBR/INE) at 1:12, 3. Egan Bernal (COL/INE) 1:16, 4. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/JUM) 1:27, 5. Emanuel Buchmann (GER/BOR) 1:45, 6. Enric Mas (ESP/DEC) 1:46, 7. Adam Yates (GBR/MIT) 1:47, 8. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 2:04, 9. Daniel Martin (IRL/UAE) 2:09, 10. Giulio Ciccone (ITA/TRE) 2:32, 11. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 2:33, 12. Patrick Konrad (AUT/BOR) 2:46, 13. Rigoberto Uran (COL/EF1) 3:18, 14. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 3:18, 15. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 3:20, 16. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 3:22, 17. Warren Barguil (FRA/ARK) 3:26, 18. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/DDT) 3:28, 19. Xandro Meurisse (BEL/WGG) 3:42, 20. Richie Porte (AUS/TRE) 3:59, 21. Mikel Landa (ESP/MOV) 4:15, 22. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 4:25, 23. David Gaudu (FRA/FDJ) 4:32, 24. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ/AST) 4:34, 25. Fabio Aru (ITA/UAE) 5:57.