Geraint Thomas will hold believing in his possibilities of successful a second Tour de France this week however is aware of he faces an uphill problem to dislodge race chief Jonas Vingegaard and defending champion Tadej Pogacar within the Pyrenees.
Thomas reached Monday’s ultimate relaxation day third general, two minutes and 43 seconds off Vingegaard in yellow, and 21 seconds behind Pogacar, who appeared on the right track for a 3rd straight title earlier than struggling on the Col du Granon on Wednesday.
Thomas, the 2018 Tour winner, has seen his deficit to yellow double within the final week however mentioned he would hold combating till Paris, with one eye on Saturday’s prolonged time trial – virtually 41km between Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadour – as a chance.
“It’s definitely going to be tough with two extremely robust riders in entrance of me and never only one,” Thomas mentioned. “We’ve acquired to maintain believing as a workforce and hopefully attempt to benefit from something we are able to, hold racing greatest we are able to…
“All we are able to actually do is get to Paris as fast as we are able to. Jonas and Tadej, if we don’t go them we don’t and that’s that.”
Thomas put time into Pogacar when he cracked on the Granon, although not fairly sufficient to maneuver as much as second. Pogacar and Vingegaard then each distanced the Welshman on the brief climb into Mende on Saturday – the type of explosive effort Thomas is aware of he can’t ship.
However on climbs like Alpe d’Huez, Thomas let his two youthful rivals go at one another whereas using his personal tempo and getting again on their wheels.
“There’s no level in my making an attempt to match the explosivity of Vingegaard and Pog after they assault like they do on these climbs,” he mentioned. “It’s higher for me to trip a bit extra regular and get again to them.
“I knew on Alpe d’Huez they wouldn’t actually keep it up so I backed off and took a bit extra time to get again on. The worst day for me was in all probability Mende.
“The climb didn’t actually go well with me the perfect however I nonetheless really feel OK. The time to the yellow jersey has doubled which isn’t best however I believe we’re nonetheless in place.”
Vingegaard seized management of the Tour on Wednesday when he and Jumbo-Visma team-mate Primoz Roglic took turns to assault Pogacar on the Galibier, efforts that informed when the Slovenian was left behind on the Granon.
However the Dane spent Monday counting the price of a nasty day on Sunday, with team-mates Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk out of the race because of accidents and Vingegaard himself hitting the deck in a crash with one other team-mate, Tiesj Benoot.
“I’m nonetheless a bit bruised on my left arm,” the 25-year-old mentioned on the remainder day. “It’s stinging a bit nevertheless it’s regular.
“It’s by no means good to lose two such necessary helpers… however fortunately we nonetheless have a brilliant robust workforce. We simply should combat and do our greatest and we’ll see if it’s sufficient.”
Pogacar acknowledged he had been “wanting gas” on Wednesday after being requested if he had eaten correctly in the course of the stage, whereas saying Roglic and Vingegaard had completed essentially the most to weaken him.
However the 23-year-old has been on the offensive since and promised to proceed that within the final week of the race.
“I must seize each likelihood, each climb there may be,” he mentioned. “I must assault and go as laborious as potential within the climbs and attempt to acquire a while every day. I’ll give every part and hope I don’t have any regrets after.”
The newest spherical of coronavirus exams on the remainder day returned two optimistic outcomes for unnamed riders, who shall be examined once more earlier than Tuesday’s stage 16.