Published: Fri, July 27, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Tour de France: Defending champion mistaken for fan and tackled by police

Tour de France: Defending champion mistaken for fan and tackled by police

"Just have to keep doing what we're doing".

Froome's struggles, however, gave him the confidence to power on. But given the length of the time trial this year, Dumoulin might need to make up time on Friday to have a chance on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford yesterday has apologised for suggesting the nasty reception his team have received at the Tour de France is a "French cultural thing".

Quintana's win lifted him from eighth overall at 4m 23s, to fifth at 3m 30s to Thomas, whose lead on a reshuffled top order rose as a result of Froome's eighth-place finish at 1m 35s to Quintana.

"First of all, I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", Gilbert said in a team press release.

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas finished close behind the sprinters to tighten his grip on the yellow jersey three days before the 21st and final stage in Paris. There was action right from the green light - did I tell you about the Tour Grid Start? - with a break going away surprisingly early and easily.

But the penultimate stage features a spiteful profile, including an energy-sapping final climb up the 22 percent gradient Col de Pinodieta, which could be the undoing of many hopefuls within sight of the Champs-Elysees.

As Quintana settled into his stage-winning groove, a flurry of attacks from Thomas' group were unleashed, several from Roglič.

Geraint Thomas on the podium on Friday. The Briton vowed
CHRISTOPHE ENA AP Geraint Thomas on the podium on Friday. The Briton vowed"I wont take my eyes off the ball

Thomas' rivals knew they had to make their move.

The Frenchman said he was also inspired by comments made by German rival Andre Greipel, who accused him of holding on to a vehicle to make it through the mountains. But it did boost his confidence for the finale.

"Having Froomey at my disposal, so to speak, is just, like, phenomenal", said Thomas. "It gave me confidence, because if Froomey is suffering then everyone is suffering and I was feeling good", said the 32-year-old Welshman. I was able to follow Roglič and Dumoulin.

"Obviously he thought I was a spectator going down the race route or something so he grabbed me".

Thomas must navigate one more mountain stage Friday and a 19-mile time trial Saturday to ride into Paris on the final day Sunday in the yellow jersey. "I used some water to wash it out", said Thomas. I just felt my handlebars go as I was passing. "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.

Hence Thomas may need to gain more time on him on Friday to secure a comfortable buffer going into Saturday's "race of truth" and ensure his ride to Paris on Sunday's finish is as the Tour victor.

There were no changes to the overall classification as Geraint Thomas continues to lead the race by 1min59sec on Tom Dumoulin and 2min31sec to teammate Chris Froome ahead of the last mountain torture test - 200.5km and six climbs, including the Col d'Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and Col d'Aubisque.

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