Thomas insists likely Tour de France victory down to 'hard work'


Espelette: Briton Geraint Thomas is set to win his maiden Tour de France after he held on to the overall leader's yellow jersey in the penultimate stage on Saturday. But yeah, I'm in a great position.

Dumoulin is a world time trial champion and couldn't afford to be ruled out by Thomas. "I'm really sick of it, it doesn't make sense".

With his bonus seconds applied, Roglic moved into third place, 13 seconds ahead of Froome who slips to fourth, two minutes and 37 seconds behind Thomas.

"Roglic was better, that is not up for discussion", he said.

Primoz Roglic of Slovenia won the 200.5 kilometre 19th stage through the Pyrenees with an attack on the risky descent from the Col d'Aubisque.

Thomas finished the stage with a lead in yellow of one minute and 51 seconds after finishing third on the road.

Reuters understands that Demare sent his power and time data to Greipel, who had quickly deleted his tweet.

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Thomas had survived Friday's big test, a 200.5-kilometre stage from Lourdes to Laruns which took the peloton over three of the toughest Pyrenean climbs - the Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque.

"Roglic was the strongest today, and a lot of respect for his victory". Whether its an overall contender or stage-winning opportunist, it is a day that will surely entertain to the end. "I worked hard in the mountains before the Tour, and as a result, I made it through mountain stages when most of the sprinters did not".

"Obviously, I didn't want him to have a bad day, like he did", Thomas said of his teammate.

"Initially I thought, 'What's this?!' as I just felt my handlebars go as I was passing".

What would also be Sky's sixth Tour de France triumph from the past seven editions would do little to appease the team's detractors, especially as Froome was only cleared to race at the 11th hour when the International Cycling Union (UCI) cleared him of wrongdoing following a lengthy, but unresolved anti-doping investigation.

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe was in the day's breakaway and secured the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification, which he will officially win if he reaches Paris.

Stage 18 saw local hope Demare, who had been accused by fellow sprint specialist Andre Greipel of holding on to his team vehicle in Wednesday's mountain stage to avoid missing the time cut, perfectly set up by Italian team mate Jacopo Guarnieri.