Published: Sun, July 29, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

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

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

Geraint Thomas is all but guaranteed to be crowned the Tour de France champion tomorrow after retaining the yellow jersey in the penultimate stage of the race.

A stunning performance during the time trial on the penultimate stage on Saturday meant Thomas goes into Paris holding onto the yellow jersey, and almost two minutes in front of nearest rival Tom Domoulin.

And having repeatedly played down talk of winning the race throughout, despite holding the lead since stage 11, Thomas - one minute and 51 seconds ahead - was able to finally express his delight at the finish line.

Only two challenging stages remain - a lengthy leg through the Pyrenees on Friday that includes three major climbs and a technical individual time trial Saturday - before the mostly ceremonial finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday.

Image copyright Team Sky Cycling Image caption The reality of what Thomas has achieved hits home in an embrace with team boss and fellow Welshman Sir David Brailsford. If I'd been closer without the time lost at Mûr-de-Bretagne, he would have taken more time on me in the mountains because he was definitely stronger. But that was more than enough with an advantage of more than two minutes at the start of the day. I've won the Tour de France man, I don't know what to say.

"When I had a wobble on that corner [early in the stage], I thought, "chill out a bit".

France's Julian Alaphilippe and world champion Peter Sagan, of Slovakia, both finished within the time cut and are set to claim the polka dot jersey for the mountain classification and the green jersey for the points classification, respectively.

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Asked if the outcome means Sky is now all riding for him, Thomas said: "I guess so".

On Saturday, Froome reminded everyone why he's won six grand tours. He can also make it Sky's sixth victory in the last seven years. Not just the stage, but the entire Tour de France.

Thomas was a support rider during Froome's title rides but he became Sky's undisputed leader when Froome cracked in the gruelling 17th stage through the Pyrenees.

Stage victor Dumoulin said: "It's an awesome day. I was sprinting full gas, and still couldn't catch him". "I'm happy I survived it", said Sagan, who crashed heavily in a descent on Wednesday.

The Welshman said after: "The last time I cried was when I got married".

Roglic's team mate Robert Gesink pulled hard at the front of the yellow jersey group to reduce the gap from 3:00 to 1:30 in the Col des Borderes before the final climb via the punishing Col du Soulor.

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