Froome to support Thomas as his own Tour hopes fade

Froome to support Thomas as his own Tour hopes fade

Froome to support Thomas as his own Tour hopes fade

Thomas was second on the stage, nabbing six bonus seconds to extend his lead over closest rival Tom Dumoulin to two minutes and five seconds. Jul 27-Stage 19 Lourdes to Laruns, 200.5 km, Road race.

"I hope I will be able to sleep", Thomas said.

Wednesday's stage victor Nairo Quintana of Movistar was caught in a crash along with Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates with 105km to go, but they were soon back on their bikes.

Points classification leader Peter Sagan, who endured a hard time on Wednesday, took charge with about 10km to go but as the Slovakian dropped back, Demare saw his chance and powered through to pip his compatriot Christophe Laporte by a whisker. There's a danger that someone could make a big move, gain two or three minutes, and then lose it all and more in the time trial.

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.

"But hopefully, he won't have to do much anyway". 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. I think the last final (climb) will be down to the legs. "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 on Thursday.

Pacing by motorbikes is a contentious issue within cycling, with Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) claiming earlier in the race that the peloton chasing him had been the beneficiaries of a motorbike, which had helped the main bunch bring him back after an attack on Stage 15.

It was not clear that apology had been accepted as Demare said he had used Greipel's "insult" as motivation. "Obviously that insulted me".

The world time trial champion could still pip the Team Sky duo in Saturday's solo effort against the clock.

"The best answer I could give Andre Greipel was to win today", said Demare.

It was a great day for the Team Sky rider, who extended his lead over his rivals as he powered away in the final few kilometers to claim third place to Saint-Lary-Soulan behind stage victor Nairo Quintana and runner-up Dan Martin.

Bora rider Sagan is mathematically assured of his sixth green jersey for the points competition but, having won three stages already, admitted he was lucky to still be in the race.

"It's fantastic. I'm really happy", added Alaphilippe, who also had some kind words for teammate Philippe Gilbert. "It was a bit of a shock but luckily I was OK".

France's Arnaud Demare won the Tour de France's flat 18th stage on Thursday, after finishing last on Tuesday and next to last on Wednesday in mountain stages.

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

After the drama of the past two days in the mountains this was a largely uneventful stage, no doubt welcome to those still with an eye on the fight for yellow.

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