Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Dumoulin furious as motorbike 'paces' rival to Tour stage win

Dumoulin furious as motorbike 'paces' rival to Tour stage win

Froome lies a further 13 seconds behind in fourth and faces his first grand tour without a podium since abandoning the 2015 Vuelta.

The Manxman is one of two Brits selected for the African team, alongside fit-again Scott Thwaites. It will be a big test (for me) but I think it's more one for the team to control it most of the day.

An imposing route will take the riders over three-quarters of the so-called "Circle of Death" as they tackle the Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque on a 200km stage from Lourdes to Laruns, and fireworks are expected before Saturday's time trial provides the final sort-out in the general classification. Geraint Thomas would have been three school years above Gareth Bale and Sam Warburton at the Cardiff comprehensive but is a don't-do-anything-daft-now time trial away from arguably surpassing their achievements.

"It doesn't make sense". There's nothing I can say to prove it.

Team Sky team-mate Froome had been Thomas' nearest challenger until he faded on Wednesday, and the defending champion later promised to "look after" the race leader amid pressure from Tom Dumoulin.

"I never felt I was going to get dropped, but it was certainly tough", Thomas said.

"Roglic was better, that is not up for discussion", he said. Thomas was next to finish after sprinting ahead of Bardet and Dan Martin to take the bonus seconds, extending his lead.

"Primoz (Roglic) was the strongest man and this was a nice victory", he commented to the media at the end of the stage.

Roglic, who also excels at time trials, showed courage on a twisty descent made more hard by clouds and fog hanging over the Aubisque. I thought a lot about [Greipel] today.

Otherwise, it was a very calm stage except for a minor crash involving Stage 17 victor Nairo Quintana and British rider Adam Yates midway through the route.

"I think (he was) a bit of an idiot". "I didn't notice anything unusual".

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.

It's unlikely Thomas will falter and lose the buffer he has over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin and third overall Primož Roglič (+2:24) and therefore the Tour.

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.

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