Tour de France: three crucial stages that will decide yellow jersey

Saturday, 28 Jul, 2018

Until recently, Thomas had insisted Froome was Team Sky's leader, yet that looks to have changed after the Tour de France's yellow jersey holder emerged as the British outfit's best, if not only, chance of winning the race.

Team Sky leader Froome, a four-time champion, finished the stage in eighth place at 1min 35sec behind Colombian victor Nairo Quintana and 48secs behind teammate and overall leader Geraint Thomas.

Froome, who remained in second place overall, 1 minute, 39 seconds behind Sky teammate Thomas, said the effects of the gas did not last long.

Froome's compatriot Geraint Thomas kept the yellow jersey and a three and a half minute advantage over Quintana, who couldn't find his form until Wednesday's mountain stage.

Colombian climber Nairo Quintana won the short but extremely hard mountainous stage with a solo attack up the brutal finishing climb to Col du Portet.

"I knew the finale was tricky", Alaphilippe said.

"I didn't want him to have a bad day like he did but it just gave me confidence knowing someone of Froomey's stature was struggling, and I just knew I would be able to respond to the attacks".

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The Movistar rider attacked close to the foot of the 16km climb as he followed a move launched by Martin, although he quickly shook off the UAE Team Emirates rider who was left to pursue him alone.

Police had to remove bales of hay blocking the road 30 kilometres into the 218-kilometre leg from Carcassonne to Bagneres De-Luchon.

Photos showed a policeman pulling Froome by the arm as his bike lay on the ground. I went all out for 220 kilometers today. "(Thomas) has ridden such an awesome race, he deserves to be in yellow and fingers crossed he holds it now until Paris". "Now, I just have to be happy with the fact that Froome cracked". The same Brit beat Dumoulin to second place when they both raced the Giro d'Italia last month.

"This was all I had, this was all we had today", Dumoulin continued.

Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert crashed earlier in the stage while in the lead when descending from the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, hitting a wall and flipping off his bike but avoiding major injury.

Asked what advice he could give Thomas, Froome laughed: "I don't think he needs any".

"It's the first time I've ridden for GC (general classification)".