Thomas extends overall lead with late attack

09 Jun 2018

Thomas extends overall lead with late attack

Geraint Thomas extended his overall lead with a well-timed late attack to distance his rivals and finish second on stage six of the Criterium du Dauphine.

Thomas now has a lead of 1’28” heading into Sunday’s final stage after he marked the attacks his fellow GC contenders on the final climb, La Rosiere, before gaining time on them with an explosive burst to the line to finish behind stage winner Pello Bilbao (Astana).

The Welshman was part of an elite leading group that battled on the final climb of the day behind a large breakaway that had been leading for the majority of the day. 

Bilbao was part of the initial break of 27 which led from the early stages, but with no significant threat to Thomas’ yellow-blue jersey in the lead group, the battle for the overall lead took place further down the road.

Thomas received superb support from Jonathan Castroviejo and Tao Geoghegan Hart after the uncategorised Col du Pré shattered the peloton with 50km of the short 110km stage still remaining, with the latter able to help the race leader fend off a number of attacks on the final climb. 

Stage five winner Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) had gone in search of another stage victory by bridging to the remnants of the initial break, but he was caught by Thomas, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) with seven kilometres to go.

With Bilbao racing away for the stage win, a high-paced game of cat-and-mouse ensued, with Thomas equal to everything the trio could throw at him before accelerating in the final 400m to extend his overall lead.

Despite another selfless performance Geoghegan Hart secured a top 10 on the stage which has seen him move up to 15th overall. 

Thomas must now defend the jersey on Sunday's final stage which features five climbs and another summit finish. 
Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

Tao and Castroviejo were really good and we were always just in control. We never panicked, but I didn’t want to get carried away."
Speaking to ITV at the finish, Thomas talked through a whirlwind stage.
 
He said: “It wasn’t ideal but AG2R rode really well today, they really took the race on and put us under pressure. Fortunately we’ve got such a strong team that if one guy’s not so good, another guy steps up. Tao and Castro were really good today and fortunately we were always just in control. We never panicked - but fair play to AG2R for taking the race on.
 
“I always felt in control, I always felt pretty good, but I didn’t want to get too carried away [on the final climb]. It’s easy to underestimate how far there is to go and I didn’t want to go too early, die off, and lose time. Obviously there’s a big day tomorrow as well so I tried to do the minimum and then at the end, I just thought ‘I’ll go for it and see what happens’. I managed to get a few more bonus seconds which is good.
 
“I think the way we rode today was really good. Always in control and not getting carried away. Riding well as a team - that’s our strength, the way we ride together and communicate. We’ve done it for so many years now at the Tour.”
Geraint Thomas sprinting for the line to finish second on stage six

Geraint Thomas sprinting for the line to finish second on stage six

Stage six result

1. Pello Bilbao (Astana) 3:34:11
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +21”
3. Dan Martin (UAE Emirates) +23”
4. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) s.t.
5. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +26”
 
Overal standings

1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 20:51:19
2. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +1’29”
3. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +2’01”
4. Dan Martin (UAE Emirates) +2’30”
5. Damiano Caruso (BMC) +2’39”

Share this article