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Thomas picks himself out of ditch

By Nicloas Roche

Geraint Thomas laughed off a dramatic crash which saw him clatter into a telegraph pole on stage 16 of the Tour de France.

Spaniard Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) won the 201 kilometres route from Bourg-de-Peage, leaving Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) second for a fifth time in the race and 16th in all.

Plaza held off Sagan on a daring final descent of the Col de Manse, where Team Sky's Thomas was nudged off a precipice by Frenchman Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin).

The 29-year-old from Cardiff flipped over his handlebars and tumbled off the road, smacking the telegraph pole.

Amazingly he recovered to finish 38 seconds behind the group of main contenders as Team Sky colleague Chris Froome maintained his lead of three minutes 10 seconds over nearest challenger Nairo Quintana.

Thomas, who preserved his sixth place overall, 5mins 32secs behind Froome, said: "We were coming hard right and I was just following the wheel, and then all of a sudden Barguil was just going straight on and pushed me straight off into a big lamp-post and down a ditch.

"I feel all right for now. The doctor asked me a few questions, my name and stuff. I said 'I'm Chris Froome'."

Referring to the abuse Team Sky has encountered earlier in the Tour, Thomas added: "A nice Frenchman - they are nice here sometimes, they're not all bad - pulled me out."

Belfast Telegraph


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