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With three riders in the top-10 of the general classification, Ineos Grenadiers is first in line to challenge Tadej Pogačar’s (UAE Team Emirates) seemingly unshakable grip on the yellow jersey in the second week of the Tour de France.
“I’m sure [sports director] Steve [Cummings] will come up with his game plan now,” team boss Rod Ellingworth said after the stage. “I think we are in a pretty decent position. I think these three lads will be pretty happy with that.”
Geraint Thomas sits in third at 1:17, Adam Yates eight seconds further back in fourth, and Tom Pidcock is in seventh at 1:46, after they each lost a handful of seconds to Pogačar in the finale on Sunday.
Using these numbers effectively give Ineos the best chance of dethroning Pogačar, although one of its riders is yet to finish ahead of the Slovenian on a GC day.
Thomas said the team needs to be patience because there are still nearly two weeks of racing ahead of everyone.
“It’s take each day as it comes, look at the stage profile and the situation in the race,” Thomas said looking ahead to the second week. “It’s not just us as well. Jumbo will be keen to do something. It’s not like it’s just down to us to try something and make it hard. But [we] definitely take advantage of the situation if it’s in our favor. But it’s easier said than done because it’s the Tour.”
The Col de la Croix is coming up next 🔜
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) July 10, 2022
Ineos will have one less card to play, however, than it did at the beginning of the day as Dani Martínez cracked on the final climb and lost more than 15 minutes to the other GC contenders.
“He wasn’t feeling so good today which showed there,” Ellingworth said. “It’s a little bit disappointing for him because he came here for a higher result than what he’s going to get now, but that’s life.”
Martínez began the stage as one of three protected riders at Ineos, alongside Thomas and Yates. The 22-year-old Pidcock, racing his first Tour de France and second grand tour, is more of a wildcard.
“The thing with Tom is that it’s a bit the land of the unknown after the first rest day so we don’t know what we’re going to get. It’s just about experience with him,” Ellingworth said.
Despite Pogačar’s dominance, his team has appeared fragile at points during the opening week, at least according to Thomas.
“They are not as strong as what they could be,” Thomas said. “They got a lot of good riders in the winter but they don’t all seem to be firing.
“But still when you’ve got the yellow jersey in the team and someone like Pogačar you’re going to be game. They did today, and I’m sure they will for the rest of the race but they were well in control today.”