Published: Mon, July 23, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Greg Van Avermaet extends Tour de France lead in first mountain stage

Greg Van Avermaet extends Tour de France lead in first mountain stage

Geraint Thomas of Team Sky and Great Britain is the new leader of the Tour de France after yellow jersey wearer Greg Van Avermaet dropped out of contention.

The victory for Thomas sees him extend his overall lead to one minute and 39 seconds over Froome, while Dumoulin is a further 11 seconds back.

The 30-time stage victor was dropped early on and spent the entire stage off the back, but rejected a ride in the broom wagon before crossing the line 65 minutes after Thomas. It cracked me up because I knew he was watching. On the four Tours Froome has won, he has worn the yellow jersey after the first mountain stage.

Thomas now looks every inch a potential Tour victor, yet he still maintains Froome is Team Sky's designated leader and that he has not targeted final victory.

Katusha said Kittel's teammate, Rick Zabel, will be allowed to continue in the Tour after race organisers showed clemency since he missed the cut by only three seconds.

It appears Sky was biding its time.

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Even as I crossed the line I said: "'Is someone still away?'" Yo-yoing Spaniard Landa completed the top five at seven seconds, while Nibali fought back alongside Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) to finish 13 seconds down after his crash four kilometres from the finish. "It will definitely start shaping the GC", Froome said of the general classification.

Thomas, who was booed as he received the yellow jersey after the stage, later called for calm.

Van Avermaet was expected to surrender the race lead he has held since the stage three team time trial as the race moved into the Alps, but the Olympic champion defied predictions as he joined a breakaway and stayed away on the road to Le Grand-Bornand.

Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen, who each won two stages each in this year's race, withdrew midway through, as did Andre Greipel.

The other top contenders - 2014 Tour victor Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Romain Bardet - finished 59 seconds behind Thomas on Wednesday.

Thomas seemed overwhelmed by his second ski station stage win in 48 hours.

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"I've had bad luck, but I always had the will to come back to my best". "He knows how to race three weeks", Thomas said after his triumph in stage 12.

A day after the first rest day, the big guns were in no mood to take risks ahead of two more stages in the Alps.

Mountain biker jumps Tour de France cyclists.

When it did, there were plenty of high-profile riders in it, including Kruijswijk, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and white jersey Pierre Latour (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

"Then when I got the spare wheel from my teammate I realised that the wheel was also flat so there was a little bit of a comedy of errors going on there".

After a fearless effort, Kruijswijk dropped out with five km to go as Thomas, Froome, Dumoulin, Bardet and Landa jostled for the lead.

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