Thomas finally shakes off understudy role as Tour triumph looms

Ruben Holloway
July 27, 2018

"Obviously there is some frustration with how our Tour de France has gone, but you've seen how we bounced back from each stage ... tomorrow we'll go again", Durbridge said.

Fernando Gaviria of Colombia and Dylan Groenewegen - who had each won two stages in this year's race - called it quits during Stage 12 to Alpe d'Huez.

Greipel, who also quit in Stage 12, later apologized on Twitter, saying he had relied on "incorrect" information.

"I'm delighted", said Alaphilippe. "It's a shame that people cast doubts over my performance and my hard work". Several sprinters are home today and I'm still here. It's not in my mindset or my philosophy to [cheat].

Quintana, a three-time podium finisher in the Tour, finished 28 seconds ahead of Irish rider Dan Martin, while Thomas crossed third, 47 seconds back.

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Despite being cleared of anti-doping violations after he was found to have more than the permissible level of asthma drug salbutamol in his urine at last September's Vuelta a España, tensions remained high in the build-up to the three-week race. UAE-Emirates have a stage win but not for Alexander Kristoff so it's probably all in for him unless they put a man in the escape.

After two gruelling days in the Pyrenees, Geraint Thomas was able to enjoy his seventh day in the yellow jersey during the less challenging 171-kilometre leg from Trie-Sur-Baise to Pau that featured only two minor climbs and a flat finish.

Welshman Geraint Thomas holds a one minute and 59 second lead over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin.

An imposing route will take the riders over three-quarters of the so-called "Circle of Death" as they tackle the Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque on a 200km stage from Lourdes to Laruns, and fireworks are expected before Saturday's time trial provides the final sort-out in the general classification.

"We're expecting the worst", admitted Thomas.

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With 6.5 kilometres to go Nairo Quintana went solo and dropped Majka, flying towards a stage victory, and just a kilometre later Romain Bardet went backwards and quickly too, a letdown for AGSR who had called all in on their leader and were seeing the mountain take the chips.

Like Froome, Thomas said he did not believe his incident was specifically related to Team Sky, who have faced ill-feeling from elements of the crowd throughout the Tour.

"Hopefully we won't have to use Froomey".

"Obviously I didn't want him to have a bad day, like he did, but it gave me confidence knowing somebody of Froomey's stature was struggling", said Thomas.

Pictures and videos were plastered over social media as Froome reacted angrily and shouted "F**k you" at the police officer, who appeared unapologetic for his actions having grabbed the Briton by the arm.

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"I thought it was maybe an accident, just maybe an overly exuberant fan", Thomas said. "I only saw him coming back on to the road".

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