Adam Yates inherited the yellow jersey of the Tour de France when Julian Alaphilippe was hit with a time penalty at the end of a stage five, which was won by Wout van Aert.
Van Aert won the 183km stage from Gap to Privas in a sprint but the drama came after the race was over, when commissaires took 20 seconds off Alaphilippe for an illegal feed in the final 20 kilometres.
The decision saw Mitchelton-Scott’s Yates, 28, who began the day four seconds down, elevated into the race lead as he became the ninth Briton in history to don the yellow jersey.
There was also an Irishman in green as Sam Bennett, beaten in the sprint by Van Aert, did enough on the day to move clear of former three-time world champion Peter Sagan in the points classification.
Alaphilippe’s Deceuninck-QuickStep team-mate now leads Sagan by nine points, becoming the first Irishman to wear green since Sean Kelly won the points classification for the fourth time in 1989.
News of Alaphilippe’s time penalty took some of the shine off Bennett’s celebrations in green.
“It’s a bit disappointing,” he said. “We only heard about it obviously after the finish. It’s a bit of the highs and lows today. We thought we’d have yellow and green but unfortunately we don’t have it now.
“I’m honoured to wear (green) at least once and I’m really happy that happened today. It’s hard to go for stages and the green jersey – today I was so focused on the green I almost forgot to really, really try to win.
“I’ve never had such mixed feelings in my career. I’m really happy to have green but sad to have lost the stage. But I did everything I could. In the last two kilometres I didn’t have the legs to sprint, but I’m pretty happy with my performance in the end.”
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