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The British rider won on the climb back in 2018 when the Tour last visited, and after an incredible stage to the Col du Granon on stage 11 in which the entire race was turned on its head, Thomas believes that another explosive day in the Alps could be on the cards.
On stage 11 Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) cracked for the first time in his pro career while Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) stormed to both the victory and the yellow jersey. Thomas put in a dogged display and remains fourth overall, just over two minutes of the race lead.
“It was a tough day and we expected a bit of a crazy day. It definitely turned out to be that way but I’m happy to still be up there and in the mix,” Thomas said at the start of stage 12.
- Jonas Vingegaard seizes the yellow jersey as Tadej Pogačar cracks
- Tour de France: Tadej Pogačar finally cracks
When asked if he thought Pogačar would go on the attack in a bid to reclaim the yellow jersey, Thomas hinted that some form of retaliation was on the cards but that unlike on stage 12, when the race broke apart on both the Telegraphe and the Galibier, Thursday’s stage would likely come down to the final slopes of Alpe d’Huez.
“I think that he will try and react but I can’t see it happening before Alpe d’Huez but who knows with this race,” Thomas said.
“I think that Jumbo-Visma might take a real controlled take on the stage and then on Alpe d’Huez it will be crazy again. That’s what I predict but you’ve got to expect the worst and hope for the best. Obviously there are a lot of strong guys still in the race, it’s not just them two. Obviously they’ve been the strongest so far but as we saw with Pogačar yesterday you never know what can happen with Vingegaard later on. His team seems super strong.
Heading into stage 12 Thomas is 2:26 down on the race leader. His teammate Adam Yates sits 3:06 down on GC, and in sixth place overall.