"I did not expect this, it's incredible", said the 26-year-old Alaphilippe after his first win on the Tour. "It meant Froomey could follow behind so ideal scenario really".
Watch every minute of the Tour de France live and on-demand on the Eurosport Player, with six additional camera feeds and uninterrupted, ad-free coverage. For me, whatever happens now it is a super successful Tour.
The top five in the overall classification is rounded out by 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali in fourth, 2:14 behind Thomas, and Primoz Roglic in fifth, 2:23 back. "We're going to have to keep a close eye on him", Froome said, looking ahead to the race's only individual time trial in the penultimate stage.
By catching Dumoulin, Thomas had already done enough for yellow but wanted more as Nieve slid into view, kicking again to pass Nieve inside the final 400 metres and take the stage win. I think it's fantastic for us to have those options. And a year ago at the Tour of Poland, Red Bull-sponsored rider Szymon Godziek did a backflip over the peloton at the Tour de Pologne.
Thomas is second overall, 43 seconds behind Greg van Avermaet, but the Belgian will surrender the yellow jersey on Tuesday, when the Tour hits the Alps with an intimidating 10th stage from Annecy to Le Grand Bornand that features four demanding climbs.
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But Thomas and Sky have played that down.
After going up the beyond-category ascents to Montee de Bisanne and Col du Pre, plus the second-category Cormet de Roselend, the stage concluded with the unprecedented and lengthy 17.6-kilometre climb to La Rosiere - a ski resort linked to La Thuile in the Italian region of Valle d'Aosta.
Colombian Uran, who suffered a crash on the cobbles in the ninth stage, finished two minutes, 29 seconds behind the group of main contenders as his podium hopes virtually vanished in the first Alpine stage.
While he seized the moment to attack the main protagonists in the mountains, his fearless ride is only likely to have extended his stay in yellow for 24 hours, as the Tour continues with another day for the climbers on Wednesday. I committed, got across to Dumoulin and then sat on.