International Sport > Cycling > THOMAS CLIMBS INTO YELLOW WITH STAGE WIN

THOMAS CLIMBS INTO YELLOW WITH STAGE WIN

Geraint Thomas is the new leader of the Tour de France after storming to victory up La Rosiere on Wednesday.

The Team Sky rider kicked clear of Tom Dumoulin before overtaking solo leader Mikel Nieve in the closing stages of an enthralling ride from Albertville.

Thomas' burst sees him take over from Greg Van Avermaet at the top of the general classification, the Welshman sitting one minute and 25 seconds clear of team-mate Chris Froome, who crossed the line in third place.

While only 108.5 kilometres in length, stage 11 provided plenty of twists and turns as the main contenders jostled to assume control of the maillot jaune.

Alejandro Valverde tested his rivals around the midway point, but the Spaniard's bravery went unrewarded as he slipped off the pace set by the leading pack to be quickly swallowed up by the peleton.

Instead it was Thomas who struck a telling blow on the climb to the finish line, breaking away from a group that included Froome with around 5km to go.

He caught up with Dumoulin and Damiano Caruso and then had enough left in the tank to reel in Nieve, who faded badly towards the end to cross in fifth place.

SKY THE LIMIT AS FROOME LOOMS

There was always going to be a new leader after stage 11 - even Van Avermaet, who admitted he had reached his "maximum" after claiming fourth place on Tuesday to remain in yellow, knew as much.

Thomas, the closest challenger to the Belgian at the start of the day, seized his opportunity as Team Sky flexed their muscles in the mountains, giving them the top two in the standings as Froome lurks ominously behind his colleague.

"I knew there was a good chance [of being in yellow], but I didn't know how everyone else was going to ride," Thomas told Eurosport.

"To wear the yellow jersey is always a massive honour. I managed to do it last year, so to do it two years on the trot is pretty nice.

"We were expecting attacks. When they go it's never nice to see them riding away, but we had confidence in each other."

STAGE 11 RESULTS

1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +00:20
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky)
4. Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) +00:22
5. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton - Scott)

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 44:06:16
2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +1:25
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1:44

Points
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 339
2. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 218
3. Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) 132

King of the Mountains
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 61
2. Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data) 49
3. Warren Barguil (Team Fortuneo-Samsic) 40

UP NEXT...

Stage 12 travels from Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs to Alpe d'Huez, a name synonymous with the Tour but making a first appearance since 2015. The 175.5km journey includes trips up the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Croix de Fer, but it will be all about the finish on another day that could be crucial for the leading protagonists.

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