Tour de France

Froome abdicates Tour crown to Sky team-mate Thomas

2018-07-26 10:00
Geraint Thomas (Getty Images)
Geraint Thomas (Getty Images)

Saint-Lary-Soulan - Tour de France king Chris Froome virtually ended his bid for a record-equalling fifth victory on Wednesday, giving his full backing to Sky team-mate and race leader Geraint Thomas.

Froome, 32, had been hoping to join an elite club of five-time winners and become the first cyclist since Marco Pantani, in 1998, to win the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in the same calendar year.

But Froome's bid to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain on the five-time winners list may have to wait another year.

Starting the 17th stage with a deficit of 1:39 to Thomas, the Kenyan-born Briton showed rare glimpses of weakness on his way to finishing nearly a minute behind his Welsh team-mate at the final mountaintop finish of the race at Saint-Lary-Soulan won by Colombian rival Nairo Quintana of Movistar.

Froome dropped to third overall and now trails Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) by 32 seconds and Thomas by 2:31, ahead of a final mountain stage on Friday, which finishes downhill, and the penultimate stage time trial on Saturday.

"It was a very intense day but I've got no regrets," said Froome at the finish after struggling to keep pace with Thomas when Slovenian Primoz Roglic launched one of several attacks in the closing kilometres.

"'G' (Geraint) has ridden such an amazing race and he deserves to be in yellow - and, fingers crossed, he holds it now until Paris."

Froome had also been bidding to claim his fourth Grand Tour win in succession after adding the 2017 Tour of Spain and this year's Giro d'Italia to a collection that has often been boosted by the help of Thomas.

He added: "I've won the last three Grand Tours I've done now, so it's certainly been a tough build-up for me, but I'm still going to try and fight for the podium and try and obviously keep 'G' up there in yellow."

Thomas, who won back-to-back stages in the Alps to underline his yellow jersey credentials - and crucially give himself a 1:39 advantage over team leader Froome -- is now assured of Froome's support over the coming stages.

"He looks really strong so I imagine he'll be able to finish it off," said Froome. "We've just got to try and look after him now, these next few days."

"We've got a lead of two minutes," said Team Sky chief Dave Brailsford.

"The probability of us winning this race lies more with Geraint now I think, but it doesn't mean it's all over.

"At this moment in time, overall, we'll look towards the next mountain stage, try and retain the jersey then it will all come down to the time trial."

Brailsford, though, was quick to credit Froome for his support of Thomas throughout.

"If 'G' goes on to win the race, he'll be a legend," added Brailsford.

"But if Froomey helps him, the way he sacrificed today, he'll be a titan. One of the all-time greats, without even winning the race."

The 18th stage on Thursday is a mainly flat ride from Trie-sur-Baise to Pau that should favour the few real sprinters still in the race.

On Friday, Thomas and Froome will be praying they successfully negotiate a 19th stage featuring six categorised climbs. It starts in Lourdes and finishes in Laruns.

Asked what advice he could give Thomas, Froome laughed: "I don't think he needs any. I think he's doing just fine."

Overall standings after the 17th stage of the Tour de France, a 65km ride from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Col de Portet on Wednesday:

1. Geraint Thomas (GBR/Sky) 70hrs 34min 11sec

2. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) at 1:59.

3. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 2:31.

4. Primoz Roglic (SLO/LNL) 2:47.

5. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 3:30.

6. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 4:19.

7. Mikel Landa (ESP/MOV) 4:34.

8. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 5:13.

9. Dan Martin (IRL/EAU) 6:33.

10. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 9:31.

11. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 11:25.

12. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 11:31.

13. Bob Jungels (LUX/QST) 14:20.

14. Pierre-Roger Latour (FRA/ALM) 16:03.

15. Guillaume Martin (FRA/WGG) 22:30.

16. Egan Bernal (COL/SKY) 24:34.

17. Warren Barguil (FRA/FST) 26:54.

18. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 27:22.

19. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 27:35.

20. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 32:56.

21. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/BAH) 33:11.

22. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 33:47.

23. Rafal Majka (POL/BOR) 35:08.

24. Mikel Nieve (ESP/MIT) 36:13.

25. Jon Izagirre (ESP/BAH) 37:24.

26. Simon Geschke (GER/SUN) 41:04.

27. Lilian Calmejane (FRA/DEN) 43:03.

28. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/BAH) 43:14.

29. Adam Yates (GBR/MIT) 44:05.

30. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EFD) 45:47.

31. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/QST) 1hr 02:49.

32. Daniel Martinez (COL/EFD) 1hr 02:51.

33. Robert Gesink (NED/LNL) 1hr 05:09.

34. Julien Bernard (FRA/TRE) 1hr 07:25.

35. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 1hr 08:39.

36. Rudy Molard (FRA/FDJ) 1hr 12:06.

37. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/DEN) 1hr 13:29.

38. David Gaudu (FRA/FDJ) 1hr 14:08.

39. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 1hr 15:37.

40. Michael Andersen (DEN/AST) 1hr 21:01.

41. Amael Moinard (FRA/FST) 1hr 21:22.

42. Nicolas Edet (FRA/COF) 1hr 21:26.

43. Jose Herrada Lopez (ESP/COF) 1hr 23:48.

44. Daryl Impey (RSA/MIT) 1hr 23:54.

45. Kristijan Durasek (CRO/EAU) 1hr 25:42.

46. Antwan Tolhoek (NED/LNL) 1hr 26:02.

47. Audrey Amador (CRC/MOV) 1hr 28:40.

48. Mathias Frank (SUI/ALM) 1hr 31:42.

49. Omar Fraile (ESP/AST) 1hr 32:41.

50. Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN/SUN) 1hr 34:04.

51. Stefan Kung (SUI/BMC) 1hr 34:20.

52. Thomas Degand (BEL/WGG) 1hr 35:24.

53. Wout Poels (NED/SKY) 1hr 36:00.

54. Maxime Bouet (FRA/FST) 1hr 36:36.

55. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/BAH) 1hr 38:02.

56. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF) 1hr 40:09.

57. Laurens ten Dam (NED/SUN) 1hr 40:14.

58. Jasper Stuyven (BEL/TRE) 1hr 40:16.

59. Pavel Kochetkov (RUS/KAT) 1hr 41:19.

60. Tom Slagter (NED/DDT) 1hr 41:49.

61. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/SKY) 1hr 43:17.

62. Marco Minnaard (NED/WGG) 1hr 43:57.

63. Jesper Hansen (DEN/AST) 1hr 47:15.

64. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/LOT) 1hr 48:09.

65. Marc Soler (ESP/MOV) 1hr 52:05.

66. Oliver Naesen (BEL/ALM) 1hr 52:43.

67. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOR) 1hr 53:01.

68. Darwin Atapuma (COL/EAU) 1hr 54:26.

69. Magnus Cort Nielsen (DEN/AST) 1hr 54:53.

70. Nikias Arndt (GER/SUN) 1hr 58:33.

71. Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE/FDJ) 2hrs 02:02.

72. Romain Sicard (FRA/DEN) 2hrs 03:51.

73. Chad Haga (USA/SUN) 2hrs 04:48.

74. Gregor Muehlberger (AUT/BOR) 2hrs 04:57.

75. Ian Boswell (USA/KAT) 2hrs 09:28.

76. Yves Lampaert (BEL/QST) 2hrs 09:43.

77. Julien Vermote (BEL/DDT) 2hrs 10:29.

78. Imanol Erviti (ESP/MOV) 2hrs 12:51.

79. Koen de Kort (NED/TRE) 2hrs 12:54.

80. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP/SKY) 2hrs 12:58.

81. Jelle Vanendert (BEL/LOT) 2hrs 13:24.

82. Paul Martens (GER/LNL) 2hrs 15:09.

83. Toms Skujins (LAT/TRE) 2hrs 15:49.

84. Anthony Perez (FRA/COF) 2hrs 16:08.

85. Silvan Dillier (SUI/ALM) 2hrs 16:26.

86. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/DDT) 2hrs 18:54.

87. Elie Gesbert (FRA/FST) 2hrs 20:07.

88. Edward Theuns (BEL/SUN) 2hrs 20:42.

89. Thomas Boudat (FRA/DEN) 2hrs 22:24.

90. Andrea Pasqualon (ITA/WGG) 2hrs 23:04.

91. Nils Politt (GER/KAT) 2hrs 24:05.

92. Yoann Offredo (FRA/WGG) 2hrs 25:37.

93. Michael Schaer (SUI/BMC) 2hrs 25:37.

94. Pawel Poljanski (POL/BOR) 2hrs 26:59.

95. Marcus Burghardt (GER/BOR) 2hrs 28:52.

96. Jerome Cousin (FRA/DEN) 2hrs 29:11.

97. Kristjan Koren (SLO/BAH) 2hrs 32:50.

98. Julien Simon (FRA/COF) 2hrs 33:10.

99. Kevin Ledanois (FRA/FST) 2hrs 34:21.

100. Florian Vachon (FRA/FST) 2hrs 34:55.

101. Dion Smith (NZL/WGG) 2hrs 36:10.

102. Simon Clarke (AUS/EFD) 2hrs 36:13.

103. Laurent Pichon (FRA/FST) 2hrs 36:34.

104. Rory Sutherland (AUS/EAU) 2hrs 37:19.

105. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/BAH) 2hrs 38:15.

106. Romain Hardy (FRA/FST) 2hrs 39:12.

107. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA/DDT) 2hrs 39:41.

108. Daniele Bennati (ITA/MOV) 2hrs 40:39.

109. Tomasz Marczynski (POL/LOT) 2hrs 41:27.

110. Matthew Hayman (AUS/MIT) 2hrs 41:35.

111. John Degenkolb (GER/TRE) 2hrs 43:21.

112. Simon Gerrans (AUS/BMC) 2hrs 44:29.

113. Michael Gogl (AUT/TRE) 2hrs 45:07.

114. Niki Terpstra (NED/QST) 2hrs 46:12.

115. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/EFD) 2hrs 47:06.

116. Daniel Oss (ITA/BOR) 2hrs 47:40.

117. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/EAU) 2hrs 48:34.

118. Luke Durbridge (AUS/MIT) 2hrs 52:05.

119. Jack Bauer (NZL/MIT) 2hrs 54:59.

120. Michael Hepburn (AUS/MIT) 2hrs 57:11.

121. Fabien Grellier (FRA/DEN) 2hrs 57:16.

122. Marco Marcato (ITA/EAU) 2hrs 57:17.

123. Maciej Bodnar (POL/BOR) 2hrs 57:50.

124. Heinrich Haussler (AUS/BAH) 2hrs 58:12.

125. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL/WGG) 2hrs 58:18.

126. Anthony Turgis (FRA/COF) 2hrs 58:41.

127. Olivier Le Gac (FRA/FDJ) 3hrs 01:23.

128. Christophe Laporte (FRA/COF) 3hrs 03:56.

129. Lukas Poestlberger (AUT/BOR) 3hrs 05:23.

130. Tom Scully (NZL/EFD) 3hrs 05:32.

131. Timothy Dupont (BEL/WGG) 3hrs 07:05.

132. Taylor Phinney (USA/EFD) 3hrs 07:08.

133. Luke Rowe (GBR/SKY) 3hrs 08:35.

134. Oliviero Troia (ITA/EAU) 3hrs 09:14.

135. Dimitri Claeys (BEL/COF) 3hrs 09:22.

136. Ramon Sinkeldam (NED/FDJ) 3hrs 11:14.

137. Damien Gaudin (FRA/DEN) 3hrs 11:28.

138. Maximiliano Richeze (ARG/QST) 3hrs 14:31.

139. Roberto Ferrari (ITA/EAU) 3hrs 15:14.

140. Arnaud Demare (FRA/FDJ) 3hrs 22:23.

141. Jasper De Buyst (BEL/LOT) 3hrs 22:58.

142. Timo Roosen (NED/LNL) 3hrs 23:24.

143. Amund Grondahl Jansen (NOR/LNL) 3hrs 25:54.

144. Jay Thomson (RSA/DDT) 3hrs 26:06.

145. Jacopo Guarnieri (ITA/FDJ) 3hrs 27:34.

146. Lawson Craddock (USA/EFD) 3hrs 41:40.

Read more on:    tdf 2018  |  geraint thomas  |  chris froome  |  cycling


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