Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Dumoulin down to his last chance in Tour de France

Dumoulin down to his last chance in Tour de France

The last stage in the Pyrenees on Friday - the Tour's so-called "queen stage" for its difficulty and drama - offers Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin his final real chance of capitalizing on any slip-up from Thomas.

Geraint Thomas sprinted to take home third and lock down the yellow jersey, with Primoz Roglic taking a fine fourth although he could not drop Doumlin.

While Thomas followed Dumoulin, Froome quickly lost ground and had to be escorted the rest of the way by Colombian team-mate Egan Bernal, who kept turning around to check on his team leader.

"I didn't want to risk anything, which was why I left it as late as possible", said Thomas, when asked about his strategy.

Primoz Roglic of Slovenia won the 200.5 kilometre 19th stage through the Pyrenees with an attack on the unsafe descent from the Col d'Aubisque. "I will try to test Thomas".

With four stages remaining, the Welshman - bidding for a first Grand Tour victory - leads teammate Froome, who is now third, by two minutes and 31 seconds.

"I was the first rider to come down the descent and one of the gendarmes grabbed my arm as I was passing", Froome said.

Organisers had set up a grid start at the foot of the first climb but, while it often brings excitement in Formula One, it was a forgettable moment here, with the peloton being well-organised after a few hundred metres.

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The Portuguese said: "I'm happy to smile and to see that, you know, you can change your opinion and change as a person, it is amusing ".

It is said that you can see Paris from the top of the Tour de France's final climb, but yesterday afternoon on the Col d'Aubisque the cloud was so thick that Geraint Thomas could barely see 50 yards ahead. "I will keep refuelling, eating and drinking as best I can and not let any complacency creep in". "I was sprinting full gas, and still couldn't catch him".

Ominously, Thomas's poor performance benefited Primoz Roglic, victor of Friday's stage, who went on to win the Swiss race overall.

Instead, it was Thomas who finished the stronger of the pair, ahead of his nearest rivals but behind stage victor Nairo Quintana and Irishman Daniel Martin.

Froome has been jostled and spat at by fans on the Tour so far, and admitted he did not immediately realise what was going on when the officer grabbed him.

A sample from Froome, a six-time Grand Tour victor, taken at last year's Vuelta a Espana revealed twice the permitted amount of salbutamol, normally used to treat asthma, in his body. As the time trial world champion, he might have had an advantage.

We could also see the yellow jersey contenders take their last punches at Thomas before Saturday's time trial.

'It was a tough day, an intense day, but I've got no regrets, ' he said.

Yesterday morning, Greipel wrote: "My apology go out to @ArnaudDemare and @GroupamaFDJ as I have had not the right to make that tweet based on Global Positioning System time, which can be wrong, plus I got the incorrect times he lost on the last hill". But he said it felt more like a "hit". "I am feeling good but I am not going to get carried away, keep fuelling and eating and drinking as best as I can and just not let any complacency creep in".

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