Thomas set to win Tour as fading Froome drops down to fourth

Thomas set to win Tour as fading Froome drops down to fourth

Thomas set to win Tour as fading Froome drops down to fourth

Hence Thomas may need to gain more time on him on Friday to secure a comfortable buffer going into Saturday's "race of truth" and ensure his ride to Paris on Sunday's finish is as the Tour victor.

"They can do a big move and then still lose a chunk of time in the TT".

Thomas will have the rare luxury of having four-time Tour victor Chris Froome ride in his service after his team-mate slipped to third overall on Wednesday, declaring afterwards he is now all-in for Thomas.

"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. "But hopefully he won't have to do much". A day after the sprinters got an opportunity to contest one more finish before Paris, the mountain goats of the peloton get a last chance to assert themselves on Friday.

"The last climb will be down to the legs". "We were able to keep the level in the third week, which we've been doing all the last years, that's really becoming a strength". "It didn't feel like a grab, but like a hit", Thomas said prior to the start of stage 18 from Trie-sur-Baise to Pau.

A sprint was always on the cards but the battle for position was wide open given that the field of quick men has been decimated in this race, with Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, Dylan Groenewegen, Fernando Gaviria and Michael Matthews all having withdrawn at various points.

He now only needs to make sure Dumoulin, or third-placed Roglic (2:24) don't upset his plans to become Wales' first Tour champion by overcoming their respective deficits during a "really tough" time trial over 31 km on Saturday's penultimate stage.

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It was not clear that apology had been accepted as Demare said he had used Greipel's "insult" as motivation. 'I went through some hard moments in the first part of this Tour and lost some time, ' said Quintana, who is fifth overall. 'For me, so far it has not been possible to gain time on him'.

Meanwhile, Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford yesterday has apologised for suggesting the nasty reception his team have received at the Tour de France is a "French cultural thing".

Bardet was still at the head of the race over the Col des Bordères and the lower slopes of the Col d'Aubisque, but the forcing of Team Sky and LottoNL-Jumbo saw the escapees joined by the dwindling yellow jersey group on the final ascent.

"I have pain everywhere, but still I am quite happy I can keep racing", Sagan said. "I just didn't have it", he said that afternoon, "and when you know that, your head just falls off a bit".

In 2015, former Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali was thrown off the Tour of Spain after holding onto a team vehicle while chasing back on following a crash in the final 30 kilometres of stage two.

"However, there is still a big time trial on Saturday".

Colombian climber Nairo Quintana won the short but extremely hard mountainous stage with a solo attack up the brutal finishing climb to Col du Portet.

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