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Froome support 'phenomenal' for Thomas as Tour title nears

27 July, 2018, 23:32 | Author: Drew Briggs
  • Team Sky's Geraint Thomas left is on the brink of becoming the first Welshman to win the Tour de France

The Tour de France will be decided on Saturday afternoon in the French Basque country on a technical and tortuous individual time-trialling course from Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette.

Stage 19 is the final day in the high mountains.

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.

"At the time I didn't know what it was", Thomas said.

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

"I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", he said on Tuesday. It's regrettable that people doubt my performances. "I hope in Paris I can win". It's not in my mindset or my philosophy to [cheat].

The stage was everything we'd hoped for, and at the end, Nairo Quintana had won Movistar's first stage of the Tour and Geraint Thomas looked like a virtual tour victor in waiting.

"That last climb will just be down to the legs but we will just keep doing what we've been doing".

Alexander Kristoff of Norway crossed third in the same time.

Geraint Thomas on the podium on Friday. The Briton vowed
CHRISTOPHE ENA AP Geraint Thomas on the podium on Friday. The Briton vowed"I wont take my eyes off the ball

Among them was polka dot jersey wearer Julian Alaphilippe, Adam Yates and Damien Gaudin, who won the day's intermediate sprint, but contained none of Thomas's general classification rivals.

Thomas remained one minute, 59 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin with the Welshman's Sky teammate and four-time champion Chris Froome third, 2:31 behind.

Team boss Dave Brailsford said they will now plan to make sure Froome joins Thomas on the Tour de France podium: "He's not out of it necessariy, there's a big mountain day to come, and the time trial".

"We're expecting the worst", admitted Thomas. "It's the last mountain stage, and I think guys will try to take every opportunity they can", Thomas said. "I think it's one more for the team to control most of the day".

While Thomas followed Dumoulin, Froome quickly lost ground and had to be escorted up the rest of the way by Colombian teammate Egan Bernal, who kept turning around to check on his team leader.

Froome was left furious at the officer and was then filmed shouting "fuck you" at the man after he was back on his feet.

"He must have made a mistake on one of the corners".

'I went through some hard moments in the first part of this Tour and lost some time, ' said Quintana, who is fifth overall. "But when I got back to the hotel and was showed the pictures it was obviously something else". Thomas, who has never previously been in a position to win a grand tour, is keeping his feet on the ground. In the 2016 Giro, Dutchman Steven Kruiswijk appeared poised to upset the odds and take pink as he went into stage 19 leading by three minutes, but he crashed into a snowbank on the descent of the Colle dell'Agnello to lose his advantage. "We will see if it's possible".

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