International Sport > Cycling > THOMAS MAINTAINS ADVANTAGE

THOMAS MAINTAINS ADVANTAGE

Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin remain locked in a three-way battle for the Tour de France yellow jersey after strengthening their grip on the podium positions on Saturday.

Stage 14 saw Omar Fraile break from a pack of 32 riders to secure the stage victory, but the real action came 20 minutes later as the general classification contenders came home.

The peloton allowed the breakaway to have their moment in the spotlight on the route from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Mende, and Fraile took full advantage, pipping Julian Alaphilippe and Jasper Stuyven to claim his first Tour de France success.

Attention immediately turned to the yellow jersey group and the leading riders maintained their control of proceedings, aided by a break from Primoz Roglic that broke Romain Bardet.

Thomas, Froome and Dumoulin all reacted to Roglic's move inside the final five kilometres, but it was too much for Bardet and Nairo Quintana who lost more time in the GC fight.

The top three could not be separated and came home together after five hours in the saddle, ensuring Thomas holds onto his one minute and 39-second lead over Froome.

Only fourth-placed Roglic remains within three minutes of the leader, though, as an intriguing battle looks set to go all the way to Paris.

OMAR'S NOT SO FRAILE

It was a day to remember for Fraile as he produced a stunning finish to claim a memorable stage win, and give Astana their first success of this year's race.

Stuyven had looked like taking the stage win after making the first break for the line, but he was reeled in by Fraile and Alaphilippe, the former showing his class to cross the line first.

Points leader Peter Sagan strengthened his grip on the classification with a fourth-placed finish, Alaphilppe having pipped Stuyven to second in the final metres.

"You can say it was too early but there were some big guys behind. I played my card, went all in and lost," said a rueful Stuyven on the finish line.

STAGE 14 RESULT

1. Omar Fraile (Astana) 04:41.57
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) +0.06
3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) +0.06
4. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0.12
5. Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) +0.17

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 58:10.44
2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +1.39
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1.50

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 437
2. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) 170
3. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) 133

King of the Mountains

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 90
2. Warren Barguil (Team Fortuneo-Samsic) 70
3. Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data) 63

UP NEXT…

As the Pyrenees come into view there is still one more day in the Massif Central to negotiate on Sunday. The 181.5km route from Millau to Carcassonne includes three category climbs that could provide GC opportunities ahead of the second rest day on Monday.

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SAGAN COMPLETES HAT-TRICK AFTER BUNCH SPRINT THOMAS READY FOR 'WAR' AS YELLOW JERSEY BATTLE HOTS UP
Monday, November 19, 2018
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