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Geraint Thomas attacks, takes Tour de France lead ahead of Chris Froome

20 Juillet 2018

He came home over an hour after stage victor and yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas, missing the time cut and suffering elimination from the race as a result.

In the 175.5 km stage starting in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Kruijswijk was one of the riders to break away from the peleton along with Julian Alaphilippe, who extended his lead in the King of the Mountain standings by winning the first climb of the day at Col de la Madeleine.

Cycling - Tour de France - The 108.5-km Stage 11 from Albertville to La Rosiere Espace San Bernardo - July 18, 2018 - Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish of Britain finishes. "We're going to have to keep a close eye on him", Froome said, looking ahead to the race's only individual time trial in the penultimate stage.

"It s unreal I didn t expect it at all", Thomas said.

'He knows how to race for three weeks, ' said Thomas. Froomey's still the leader. Whatever happens now it is a super successful Tour. "It's just an awesome feeling to win the stage and take the jersey".

With questions over which rider Sky is backing for victory, it was a bold demonstration of strength by Thomas, who has been Froome's loyal lieutenant for years. And when Thomas was given a chance, he seized his chance.

While celebrating his stage win on the podium, Thomas was the target of audible boos and jeers from the crowds.

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For a moment, an internal leadership battle appeared to be looming. The 30-time stage victor was dropped early on and spent the entire stage off the back, but rejected a ride in the broom wagon before crossing the line 65 minutes after Thomas.

Former Sky teammate Mikel Nieve led the stage for much of the race but Thomas chose to close the Spaniard down, a decision he justified by powering over the line in first place 1,855 metres up into the mountains.

"It was flawless, we didn't even have to talk and it was the right thing for "G" to do to push on there", Froome said of Thomas in comments to Eurosport.

"I think I timed my effort perfectly, I'm improving".

Dumoulin is third overall, 1:50 behind, while Nibali recovered to hold on to fourth, 2:37 back.

"I'm not sure what happened to Nibali but I think Thomas went over his back wheel and almost came off himself", he said.

"To win the stage is wonderful, certainly one of the best days of my career, so now I'm going to enjoy the day tomorrow". Similarly, Germany's Marcel Kittel dropped out of the race on Wednesday, after coming in more than half an hour off the pace.

Geraint Thomas attacks, takes Tour de France lead ahead of Chris Froome