Geraint set to seize on any weakness as Tour nears Paris

Friday 22nd July 2022 6:00 am

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GERAINT Thomas is waiting to seize on any signs of invincibility from the Tour de France leaders as he sits third going into the final five days.

The 36-year-old Welshman, who owns the St Tewdrics wedding venue near Chepstow, admits he hasn’t got the legs to race it like 2018 and 2019 when he won and came second respectively.

But 2mins 22secs off the lead after yesterday’s first Pyrenees stage behind Jonas Vingegaard and 21 seconds behind defending champion Tadej Pogacar, he has arguably the strongest team – Ineos Grenadiers – left in the race, and a time trial in the penultimate stage on Saturday.

The leader’s Jumbo-Visma team lost two key riders in Sunday’s stage, Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk, while Pogacar’s lieutenant Marc Soler failed to make the cut off yesterday.

“We are still in a good place,” Thomas said. “It’s certainly going to be difficult, there’s two incredibly strong riders in front of me, not just one.

“But you’ve got to keep believing and as a team we’re going to make the most of anything we can and keep racing the best we can…

“We were talking about getting from A to B, from the start of the climb to the top of the climb as quickly as you can, and we just said we’ll basically try and get to Paris as quick as we can and that’s all we can do really.

“And Jonas and Tadej – if we don’t pass them we don’t, and that’s that.

“I think the Pyrenees are going to be exciting but I’ve still got the TT up my sleeve so to speak, so that’s a bit of a bonus I think. Just take my gilet off!”

He forgot to do that on the opening time-trial of the tour, in the Grand Depart at Copenhagen, and rode with his body-warmer still on!

“When I won the Tour, I felt I was the strongest and could do what I wanted,” said the 2022 Tour de Suisse winner.

“Now there’s two other guys that have been riding stronger and it’s about waiting for any moment of vulnerability.

“I could do with Pogacar having another bad day to be honest,” he said, referring to the Alpine climb to the Col du Granon, on which the Slovenian’s form collapsed and lost him the tour lead.

“On Alpe d’Huez I was getting to the top as quick as I could, but I wasn’t going to jump with those guys, because they’re a lot more explosive than me…

“But If Vingegaard is vulnerable or isolated, even by a puncture, and he’s got nobody there, that can cost him a lot of time.”

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