Demare silences detractors with victory on stage 18

28 July, 2018, 08:25 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • Team Sky leader Froome a four-time champion finished the stage in eighth place at 1min 35sec behind Colombian winner Nairo Quintana and 48secs behind teammate and overall leader Geraint Thomas

Yesterday morning, Greipel wrote: "My apology go out to @ArnaudDemare and @GroupamaFDJ as I have had not the right to make that tweet based on Global Positioning System time, which can be wrong, plus I got the incorrect times he lost on the last hill".

"I'm surprising myself on this Tour but we're not in Paris yet".

The time lost was a blow, but Spekenbrink wouldn't agonize over that fateful stage. But yeah, I'm in a great position.

"Just try to think about what you are doing", Portal said.

Sky sporting director Nicolas Portal, a former rider with the team, appealed to fans to use common sense.

Groupama-FDJ's Demare held off Christophe Laporte of Cofidis and Alexander Kristoff of UAE Team Emirates in a sprint finish to claim his second career Tour win and his first this year. "And we've seen it work well to do it because we have the level both the team and Tom [Dumoulin]".

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Thomas' rivals knew they had to make their move.

Pictures emerged after the stage of Froome - wearing a grey jacket over his race jersey - responding angrily after the police officer tried to grab him as he was rolling back from the summit finish on the Col du Portet in the direction of the Team Sky bus.

Ahead of stage 17, described as the most decisive stage in the final week, Thomas maintained his one minute 39 seconds lead on four-time champion and teammate Chris Froome. "After I flew through the forest and I hit a big rock with my a**".

However, every attacker was reeled in by the diminishing group of overall contenders as the race went over the Montée de Peyragudes and Col de Val Louron-Azet. All he had to was stay alongside Dumoulin to take a substantial lead into the team trial.

Froome, whose day went from bad to worse when he was accidentally knocked off his bike by a policeman at the end of the stage, admitted it had been "very intense".

A member of the Gendarme caused the two men to stop abruptly and crash before he then pulled Chris Froome off his bicycle. That forced Tom Dumoulin and Roglic to also make their move, which Thomas had to follow.

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Froome has also been spat at and shoved by angry spectators amid simmering resentment towards Team Sky's domination of cycling's showpiece event. But it did boost his confidence for the finale.

"We're expecting the worst and hoping for the best", Thomas said.

"The best answer I could give Andre Greipel was to win today", said Demare.

"Yeah, it was costly but... if you go into the Tour de France you need to be prepared for many things", he said. "There was still third place up for grabs and I had a little gap ... so nice bonus".

Asked what advice he would give Thomas, Froome replied laughing: "I don't think he needs any. But he was flying downhill, and eventually I got dropped on a straight part just because he was on his tube and full in the slipstream of the motorbike", Dumoulin said.

With Thursday's 170km 18th stage from Trie-sur-Baïse to Pau for the sprinters, Thomas' next danger day after Friday is Saturday's 31km stage 20 time-trial from Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette.

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    His track record ensures that Froome remains number one at Team Sky but it is Thomas who is inexorably heading towards victory. Dutchman Dumoulin leapfrogged defending champion Froome into second, after a decisive attack 2 kilometres from the finish.
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