Chris Froome plays down 'misunderstanding' with police officer

Marcus Newton
July 28, 2018

In this race, his biggest misstep was not sitting too far back in the bunch on a mountain stage and missing the split, like what happened in the Giro's stage 19 this May.

Thomas takes an advantage of two minutes, five seconds over Dutch rival Tom Dumoulin into Saturday's 31 kilometre individual time trial in the Basque Country.

The Kenyan-born Briton had put on his rainjacket and was cycling back to the Team Sky bus when a policeman on the side of the road mistakenly took him for one of the thousands of cycling fans who traditionally ride up the mountain stages to catch a glimpse of their idols.

With some riders still clambering towards the finish line, a gendarme mistook the four-time victor for a fan and asked him to stop, causing Froome and his bodyguard to crash. But he appeared to be close to conceding this title attempt. 'I went through some hard moments in the first part of this Tour and lost some time, ' said Quintana, who is fifth overall.

Froome was dropped on the ascent of the Col du Soulor yesterday, unable to follow the attacks of Primoz Roglic [LottoNL-Jumbo] or Tom Dumoulin [Sunweb].

A former ski jumper who rides for Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, Roglic finished 19 seconds ahead of Thomas, while Romain Bardet of France crossed third with the same time.

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.

British sprinters Dan McLay (EF-Drapac), Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) and Chris Lawless (Team Sky) will also race.

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Motorbikes aren't controlled by any partisan interests, normally they are driven by Tour de France staff and are ferrying photographers and TV cameras and so rarely attract time penalties for drafting.

"I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", he said on Tuesday. 'But I still felt strong and had the energy to finish the race on a high'. "But I am not going to change my approach". Hence Thomas may need to gain more time on him on Friday to secure a comfortable buffer going into Saturday's "race of truth" and ensure his ride to Paris on Sunday's finish is as the Tour victor.

The collision occurred on Wednesday during the 65-kilometer stretch from Bagneres-de-Luchon and Saint-Lary-Soulan.

World champion Peter Sagan suffered a spectacular crash in the descent from the Col du Val Louron but remounted his bike and made the time cut, his jersey torn to pieces.

Measuring 16 km at an average gradient of almost nine percent, organizers rated the Col du Portet as the second-hardest climb in Tour history after Mont Ventoux. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +0.19 3.

An early breakaway sparked by Estonian Tanel Kangert (Astana) and "King of the Mountains" Julian Alaphilippe eventually came to nothing, although the Quick-Step rider picked up 18 precious points for his polka dot jersey.

More kilometres of time trialling during this year's race would have suited Thomas and, for the clutch of riders within sight of a podium finish in Paris, it will be a make or break stage.

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