Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Geraint Thomas attacks, takes Tour de France lead ahead of Chris Froome

The mountain biker jumped over the peloton The mountain biker jumped over the peloton
Eugene Bates | 23 July, 2018, 13:16

Geraint Thomas is in the ideal position to win a maiden grand tour title after claiming victory on Wednesday's first mountain stage of the Tour de France, but the Briton says compatriot Chris Froome remains the Team Sky leader.

With only nine km to go, Thomas and Froome had cut the gap to three minutes, meaning Kruijswijk was barely ahead in virtual General Classification. For me it's an unknown.

Who is in the battle for the yellow jersey? "When they go, it is never nice to see them all riding away but we had confidence in each other and we rode really well".

"Even as I crossed the line, it was, 'Surely there is someone still up the road, '" he said. He wore the yellow jersey for four days previous year - before dropping to second behind Froome - then crashed out on a descent in Stage 9.

"Both riders were spat at, Froome was shoved, shorts were dropped in their direction", reports Jeremy Whittle in The Guardian, "yet it was Vincenzo Nibali who ended up prone on the tarmac, after tangling with spectators, as the leaders were blinded by smoke from flares".

Van Avermaet was expected to surrender the race lead he has held since the stage three team time trial as the race moved into the Alps, but the Olympic champion defied predictions as he joined a breakaway and stayed away on the road to Le Grand-Bornand.

With BMC's Greg Van Avermaet, who defended the yellow jersey in such style on stage 10, struggling off the back of the peloton on the Col du Pre - the second of the day's two uncategorised climbs - the race for yellow was on and it was Movistar's Alejandro Valverde who blinked first with a long-range attack. When domestique Egan Bernal pulled off the front for Sky, it was Thomas who hit the front to pull back an attacking Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).

Team Sky's brutal domination of the race is not sitting well with some fans, but Thomas added: "People have their opinions, and that's fine".

"There was a bit of bad luck for Nibali, I almost rode over his back wheel".

Thomas attacked with a little more than 5.5 kilometres left of what was a pulsating 108.5 kilometre stage from Albertville to La Rosiere, which included four categorised climbs, the first two of those classified as Hors-Categorie.

"Daredevil jumps over Tour de France peleton on BMX in insane stunt on stage 10 into the Alps Prankster flies above the riders on a narrow stretch of road, narrowly avoiding taking anyone out".

"It's just mental. I just can't believe I won the stage".

It might prove tough for Thomas to sacrifice himself in the service of Froome from this position, but the 32-year-old said he would follow team orders.

Frenchman Bardet, however, is now lagging 2:58 off the pace ahead of Thursday's 12th stage ending up the iconic Alpe d'Huez. Nibali, the 2014 champion got back up but finished seventh in the stage, then was taken to the local hospital for medical exams for a suspected back injury.

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