GC contenders await Alpine tests

24 Jul 2019

GC contenders await Alpine tests

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Tour de France stage 17: Pont du Gard - Gap, 200km.

Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal maintained their overall positions at the Tour de France as the general classification riders kept their powder dry ahead of a trio of Alpine tests.

As the Alps loomed large over the 200km test from Pont du Gard to Gap, the favourites allowed a large 33-rider breakaway to quickly amass a large advantage in the early stages.

Their lead slowly grew as the peloton were content to allow the group to gain over 15 minutes before Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) emerged from the escapees to win the stage.

Thomas and Bernal came in close to 20 minutes later with the other GC contenders, as all eyes turn to the Alps for three pivotal stages of racing.  
Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

“I’ve been feeling a lot better, but anything can happen. We’ve seen in this race already that so much happens and will continue to."

Geraint Thomas

“I was all good, I thought the knee might be a bit stiff to start with, but it was fine - I’m lucky. I felt ok in the weather, we had plenty of bottles, the guys kept going back to the cars and we had plenty of extra feeds on the road. I seemed to cope with it ok.

“I’m looking forward to a big three days, a really big test and we’ll see how we come out of it. Last year was pretty good in the Alps so if I could do something similar it would be really nice, but it’s a completely different situation now but I’m looking forward to it.

"“I’ve been feeling a lot better, but anything can happen. We’ve seen in this race already that so much happens and will continue to. Every day is going to be important, but the last one has the last climb of the race so everyone will be tired and it’s a super long climb to the finish, but equally anything could happen tomorrow, or the finish into into Tignes.

"It’s going to be tough with three long climbs at high altitude, but I quite like climbs at altitude, it doesn’t seem to affect me as much as some people and at the end of the day we’re sitting second and fifth at the Tour and if I hadn't won last year I’d be pretty excited. I just need to try and enjoy it, feel my best and we’ll see what happens.

"If you have 30-40 seconds before tomorrow’s descent it will be hard to make it back, it’s not too technical and it’s very fast. So it not being a mountain top finish maybe means that you’ll go 90, not 100 per cent on it, but it’s going to be tough coming after the two previous climbs as well as the altitude and the heat too."

Egan Bernal

“The Tour de France can be won in any of the three coming stages in the Alps. All climbers will try something: Pinot, Landa… We won’t be watching each other. The most difficult is to keep the legs for attacking after 17 days of competition. 

"How we will move as Team INEOS will depend on our feelings. If we don’t have the legs, we won’t be able to do anything interesting. Alaphilippe looks to me like a solid leader. We all thought he’d lose the yellow jersey in the Pyrenees and he didn’t. He still looks very competitive now. He’s one more rival to take into account."

Overall standings:

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 69:39:16
2. Geraint Thomas (Team INEOS) +1:35"
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:47"
4. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +1:50"
5. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) +2:02"
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