Thomas promises continued fight despite early loss

Defending champion Geraint Thomas remains positive after showing weakness in the final kilometers of the Tourmalet, where he lost 36 seconds on the yellow jersey.

Photo: Getty Images

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LIMOUX, France (VN) — Geraint Thomas (Ineos) promises to “keep fighting” in the 2019 Tour de France.

The Welsh 2018 winner lost 36 seconds to his rivals on the Tourmalet summit finish stage and saw Julian Alaphilippe  (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) strengthen his overall lead in the yellow jersey.

“I think if the Tourmalet was my bad day, then it was quite a good day,” Thomas said ahead of stage 15 to Prat d’Albis.

“We won’t know till the end, I could lose three minutes today. Everyone is going to struggle at some point. It’s just how you deal with and how you get through it.”

On the famous 19km climb to the top, many struggled. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) fell behind. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), too.

Thomas only slipped behind at the 1km mark and saw six ride away: team-mate Egan Bernal, Alaphilippe, eventual stage winner Thibaut Pinot  (Groupama-FDJ), Mikel Landa (Movistar Team), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma).

“It’s obviously never nice to not feel the best, but I think I made the right call at the end to try to sort of ride my own pace and pace it and not blow up on the hardest part,” Thomas said.

“It wasn’t one of our greatest days [as a team]. It was a good day for [Jumbo-Visma] for sure, Groupama-FDJ as well. It’ll be an interesting final week.

“I think we’ll just keep fighting, stay positive and keep working hard. And you know, we’re still second and fourth [with Bernal]. It’s not like a disaster.”

For many, it was odd to see Team Sky – now Ineos – struggle in the mountains. For so many years it dominated with Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and in 2018, Thomas.

Last year, in the first mountains, Thomas had established himself at the top. He took the lead in the Rosière stage and won the Alpe d’Huez stage the next day in the yellow jersey.

Thomas still remains in second overall, but at 2:02 minutes, is further away from leader Alaphilippe. And Kruijswijk is nipping at his heels at 2:14.

“There’s still four mountain stages left but I can’t see [Alaphilippe] cranking at the moment,” he continued. “But you never know in the Alps to come.”

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