Published: Mon, July 23, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Van Avermaet extends Tour lead

Van Avermaet extends Tour lead

The victory for Thomas sees him extend his overall lead to one minute and 39 seconds over Froome, while Dumoulin is a further 11 seconds back. This climb will feature at the Tour for the 30th time this year when it serves as the summit finish for Stage 12. It cracked me up because I knew he was watching.

That said, Thomas did go all in for his own stage victory aspirations in the finale, for the second day running - and for the second day running he pulled it off.

Van Avermaet explained: "I was waiting for a reaction from Sky when I went to try and get in the breakaway, but nobody reacted".

And despite claiming his second stage win, Thomas insisted Froome was still Team Sky's leading rider.

It gave Thomas the win after he was second on an nearly identical stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in June, en route to overall victory in the race.

By the end of the 175.5km stage from Bourg-Saint-Maurice in which Sky had to chase down a long-range attack from LottoNL-Jumbo's Steven Kruiswijk, they had picked up time gaps on several rivals.

"Even as I crossed the line, it was, 'Surely there is someone still up the road, '" he said.

Vincenzo Nibali, meanwhile, had to recover from a crash to finish 13 seconds adrift.

"It depends on the situation and what's going on in the race" he said.

"Like I said yesterday, I'm still riding for Froomey", Thomas said.

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It was the Welshman's second stage win on the Tour, after his victory in the opening time trial previous year which saw him wear the leader's yellow jersey for four days before crashing out on stage nine.

There has been no shortage of drama in the first week of the Tour de France with sprint battles between young and old, struggles along the cobbles to Roubaix, Chris Froome yet to show his sharpness and Peter Sagan shining in the green jersey once again after two stage wins.

"Since the start of the race, I've been saying that Thomas is the strongest at Sky. For me, who knows, anything could happen, I could have a bad day and lose 10 minutes".

"I saw a massive occasion to take the yellow jersey".

Tuesday's stage has three category one climbs plus the Montee du plateau des Glieres which uncategorised and ridden off tarmac!

I just can t believe I won the stage.

CHRIS Froome was punched and spat at as the latest stage of the Tour de France turned ugly. Dylan Groenewegen, the victor of stages 7 and 8, André Greipe and Fernando Gaviria all quit during Stage 12, joining riders such as Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel who were dropped during Stage 11.

"I had a puncture on the dirt section and got a spare wheel from a teammate only to find out it was actually flat as well" Froome said.

Asked about the comments Thomas, who is now 59 seconds ahead of four-time victor Froome, said: 'It's a bit early to be talking about that.

Movistar have three options in Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa, but their conservative tactics are likely to do little to open up the race.

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