Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas (fi’zi:k R1 Infinito Knit) hits the final week of the 105th Tour de France in yellow with a 1:39min advantage over six-time Grand Tour winning team-mate, Chris Froome.
fi’zi:k riders occupy seven of the top eight positions on GC, with stage winners and race leaders peppering the list. While Tom Dumoulin is a threat, the Dutch danger continues with LottoNL-Jumbo team pair of Primoz Roglic (4th) and Steven Kruijswijk (7th). AG2R La Mondiale’s French fighter Romain Bardet lies 5th and the Movistar Team joint-leaders Mikel Landa (Spain) and Nairo Quintana (Colombia) sit ominously in 6th and 8th.
After BMC Racing Team and fi’zi:k’s Greg Van Avermaet’s early turn in yellow triggered by the slick TTT victory, and Lotto NL-Jumbo rider Dylan Groenewegen’s back-to-back sprint wins, Welshman Thomas followed the young Dutchman’s lead and bagged a brace of stages, including the first British victory on the Alpe d’Huez .
With the Alps conquered, the Pyrenees follow Monday’s rest day. The Tour’s shortest stage for 30 years (Wednesday 25th), just 65km and featuring the 2,125m Col du Portet, is the hors d’oeuvre for Friday’s quartet of Cols: Aspin, Tourmalet, Souler and d’Aubisque.
If the seven-man Team Sky squad can defend until then, how important will Saturday’s 31km Individual Time Trial be in deciding the GC ahead of Sunday’s procession into Paris?