Wednesday 12 December 2018

Geraint Thomas win on Alpe d’Huez to extend Tour de France lead but claims he's still riding for Chris Froome

Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas of Britain wins the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas of Britain wins the stage. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Geraint Thomas won stage 12 of the Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez to extend his lead in the yellow jersey.

The Welshman led home Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin and AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet at the end of the 175.5km stage from Bourg-Saint-Maurice, with his Sky team-mate Chris Froome fourth and Movistar's Mikel Landa fifth.

The quintet had attacked and counter-attacked one another on the way up one of cycling's most famous climbs, but were back together in the final few hundred metres before Thomas accelerated out of the last bend to take the stage win for the second straight day.

Thomas, 32, becomes the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez.

Thomas won by just a couple of seconds from Dumoulin, with Bardet one second behind him and Froome a further second back.

With bonus seconds applied, Thomas extends his lead in yellow over Froome by 14 seconds to one minute and 39 seconds, with Dutchman Dumoulin a further 11 seconds back.

It was a second Tour mountain stage win in a row for Thomas following Wednesday's victory in La Rosiere, and his third career Tour stage victory.

Thomas had actually appeared in danger of losing yellow at the mid-point of the stage, with LottoNL-Jumbo's Steven Kruiswijk, who started the day sixth overall at two minutes and 41 seconds down, enjoying a lead of more than six minutes as he went clear of the day's breakaway.

The Dutchman hit the bottom of Alpe d'Huez with a lead of four minutes 18 seconds, but the gap began to tumble as the gradient bit and he was caught with 3.5km to go.

Landa, Bardet, Froome and Dumoulin all tried moves off the front as the ski resort came into view, but they were all together on the final bend before Thomas burst forward.

“I’m still riding for Froomey, he’s the man. He’s probably the best ever," Thomas said after the stage

But asked if he wanted to stay in yellow, he said: “Maybe for the next few days. This race is so hard, you never know how the body will react.”

Ireland's Dan Martin finished 12th on the stage one minute and 45 seconds behind Thomas. He is in 10th position overall.

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