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Froome still main man, says Thomas

 

By Ian Parker

Geraint Thomas became the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France on Alpe d'Huez and the first man to win here while wearing the yellow jersey as he extended his overall lead on stage 12.

The Welshman won in an uphill sprint from Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin and AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet at the end of the 175.5km stage from Bourg-Saint-Maurice.

Thomas' Sky team-mate Chris Froome was fourth with Movistar's Mikel Landa fifth.

The quintet had attacked and counter-attacked one another on the way up one of cycling's most famous climbs but were back together in the final few hundred metres, before Thomas accelerated out of the last bend.

"Not even in my wildest dreams did I think I would win on here," Thomas said. "It's one of those things that will stay with me for the rest of my life."

Thomas won by a couple of seconds from Dumoulin, with Bardet one second behind and Froome a further second back.

With bonus seconds, Thomas extends his lead in yellow over Froome by 14 seconds to one minute and 39 seconds, with Dumoulin a further 11 seconds back.

It was a second Tour mountain stage win in a row for Thomas following victory in La Rosiere, and his third career Tour stage win. However, he once again repeated that four-time winner Froome is Sky's leader.

"I'm still riding for Froomey," Thomas said. "Froomey is still the man. He knows how to ride for three weeks. Legend gets used way too much but he's probably the best ever so I'm just going to enjoy this."

Froome was slapped by one spectator and appeared to be spat at by another as he faced some of the lingering ill-feeling from the salbutamol case in which he has been cleared of wrong-doing.

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