Eighth place felt like first for Julian Alaphilippe on Friday.
The French cyclist known for his climbing ability turned in a surprising performance in the Stage 6 time trial at the Tour of California, minimizing his losses in a discipline that has proven difficult for him in the past to retain his overall race lead.
Rohan Dennis won the stage with a blistering performance, covering the 12.6-mile course in 24 minutes 16 seconds. But the Australian rider — and one of the world's best against the clock — was still 16 seconds behind Alaphilippe heading into the penultimate stage.
BMC Racing's Brent Bookwalter turned in the fifth-best time, vaulting into third...