Tour de France - Magnus Cort Nielsen: Everything worked out perfectly

Tour de France - Magnus Cort Nielsen: Everything worked out perfectly

Tour de France - Magnus Cort Nielsen: Everything worked out perfectly

Briton Geraint Thomas retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.

If the situation is getting to the Welshman, he was not about to show it. "It's a massive honor just to be wearing (the yellow jersey), but like I have said from the very start, who knows what lies just around the corner?"

He added: "I'm not sure they would like to have seen their (France) football players being spat at (the World Cup) in Russian Federation".

On a day when the French newspaper Liberation wrongly described Froome's recent salbutamol case as a "positive test" which was "white-washed" by the UCI, Thomas said questions about why there is ill-feeling towards Team Sky was perhaps one for the French press.

Stuyven was able to stay away all the way to Mende, starting the final 3km climb one minute and 30 seconds ahead of the chase group that had swallowed up Slagter and Izaguirre. "You only need to ask a few people on the side of the road to see", Madiot told French television on Saturday.

The promising Dane, making his Tour debut this year, was part of a group of chasers that caught Rafal Majka with over 14 kilometres to go in the 181.5km route from Millau.

Mitchelton-Scott's Luke Durbridge used Twitter to describe some of the behaviour on Saturday as "disgraceful" - comments which were appreciated by the four-time Tour victor.

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Four of the six remaining stages are likely to determine the victor - three mountainous stages in the Pyrenees and an individual time trial on Saturday, when Dumoulin will be favourite. "A lot of guys are speaking out about it now, the riders are sick and exhausted of it".

The final 10km descended into a tactical tease between eight riders from which three teams had a pair of contestants - Bahrain-Merida, Trek-Segafredo and Astana.

Froome said Thomas, 32, is now the stronger of the two as the Welshman has ridden an "absolutely faultless race" to take the leader's yellow jersey into the final week.

However, the 2018 Tour has been marred by spectators spitting at Froome, and Thomas has been booed while on the podium. Both were easily reeled in, though, and Thomas said he was looking forward to spending most of his rest day in bed, resting up ahead of the Pyrenees. "I wouldn't give it up for any money. I did exactly what I wanted to do in terms of strategy". And soon after, Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step) also got off his bike, becoming the second Colombian to abandon after last year's runner-up, Rigoberto Uran, pulled out before the start of the stage.

The UCI's disciplinary committee dropped that case due to a lack of evidence, but the incident did not help Moscon's reputation, which then suffered a further blow when he was disqualified from last year's world championship road race after a video emerged of him taking a tow from the Italian team auto after he was caught up in a crash on the penultimate lap.

Cort Nielsen, Izagirre and Mollema dropped the five other remaining escapees before disputing the stage win among themselves.

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