Sky's Thomas poised for victory as record-chasing Froome breaks

Sherman Parsons
July 27, 2018

The final mountain stage of the Tour with six categorised climbs.

Stage 19 is the final day in the high mountains.

Last year's Tour de France green jersey victor Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) - who quit this year's Tour due to illness in the first week - also returns to action.

Fernando Gaviria of Colombia and Dylan Groenewegen - who had each won two stages in this year's race - called it quits during Stage 12 to Alpe d'Huez.

Demare's stage win came on the day that Greipel apologised to him on Twitter after suggesting in an earlier post that Demare had used illegitimate means in order to avoid missing the time cut when struggling on the Col du Portet on Wednesday.

Froome rides to and from stage starts and finishes alongside a Team Sky security man to minimise the risk of incidents, and he too was brought down.

Quintana, a three-time podium finisher in the Tour, finished 28 seconds ahead of Irish rider Dan Martin, while Thomas crossed third, 47 seconds back. "It's a shame that people cast doubts over my performance and my hard work". It's not in my mindset or my philosophy to [cheat]. "When I heard I had ten seconds lead or something, just 5km before the finish, I gave it all till the end". "It was a tough start to the (last) climb, everyone was on the limit but Wout (Poels) and Egan (Bernal) did a tremendous job", he explained. UAE-Emirates have a stage win but not for Alexander Kristoff so it's probably all in for him unless they put a man in the escape.

After two grueling days in the Pyrenees, Thomas was able to enjoy his seventh day in the yellow jersey during the less challenging 106-mile leg from Trie-sur-Baise to Pau, which featured only two minor climbs and a flat finish.

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The Welshman holds a one minute, 59 seconds lead on Dutch rival Tom Dumoulin Sunweb with four-time champion and teammate Chris Froome in third at 2:31 heading into Friday's 19th stage. The route will take the riders over three-quarters of the so-called "Circle of Death" - the Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque, but they are only three of six categorised climbs on a day created to break anyone already bending.

"We're expecting the worst, hoping for the best". 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.

"Hopefully we won't have to use Froomey".

"Just try to think about what you are doing", Portal said.

"Froomey said on the radio maybe with four or five kilometres to go that he wasn't feeling super and that gave me confidence", admitted Thomas.

"F- you", a furious Froome yelled at the officer.

One fan who reached over the barriers almost took Thomas down Wednesday.

Brailsford took aim at spectators who have jostled and spat at his riders during the race when he said on Monday that it does not happen at other races and was uniquely French.

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