Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Thomas triumphs in yellow, but booed on Alpe d'Huez

Thomas triumphs in yellow, but booed on Alpe d'Huez

He'll likely hold on to the yellow jersey for at least several more days as the Tour returns to flatter roads for Stages 13 and 14 before the climbs resume in the Massif Central and the Pyrenees. Since then, however, he has confirmed his credentials with two brilliant rides high up in the mountains.

The Welshman survived a brutal final few kilometers on the switchbacks and then turned on the afterburners in the last few hundred meters to win the day. "My back hurts. I had trouble breathing and now I don't feel well standing", said the Italian.

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) finished second at 20sec, just ahead of Sky leader and four-time champion Chris Froome.

Dumoulin has shown that his Giro d'Italia exploits have not hampered his chances and with Vincenzo Nibali out of the race due to a crash, and Romain Bardet and Nairo Quintana now focused on the podium rather than winning, Dumoulin remains the thorn in Team Sky's side. "To wear the yellow jersey is a massive honour and to wear it three years in a row is pretty nice.I rode really well".

Look for yellow jersey hunters to pull no punches on Alpe d'Huez, as the strongest stamp their foot down and take charge of the 2018 Tour de France.

Tour de France 2018 - Julian Alaphilippe wins Stage 10 as tour hits the mountains

Thomas took charge of the race with impressive wins atop summit finishes on the previous two days. And he is showing no signs of slowing down. However, Thomas had the best legs and pushed clear to win back-to-back stages and solidify his GC position.

Thomas had struggled to hide his disappointment after missing the chance to race into the lead on Tuesday when, sitting only 43secs behind Belgian Greg Van Avermaet, Sky's tactics fell short of his personal expectations.

At eight kilometres from the finish, Nairo Quintana (Sky) attacked but the pace of Egan Bernal (Sky) caught him easily. Only five other riders, counting Nibali, are within four minutes of Thomas: Primoz Roglic of Slovenia, who flew under radar Thursday thanks to the exploits of his LottoNL-Jumbo teammate Kruijswijk; Romain Bardet of France; Sky defector Mikel Landa; and Kruijswijk himself. From there, he mostly followed wheels.

Prudhomme said he had to press the local authorities not to open the roads to circulation again in order to allow Cavendish to finish the stage safely. After all, Thomas has never landed even a top 10 result in a grand tour.

"Unbelievable. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would win up here, " Thomas said.

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