Thomas powers into Dauphine lead

08 Jun 2018

Thomas powers into Dauphine lead

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Geraint Thomas powered into the race lead at the Criterium du Dauphine with an impressive show of strength on stage five.

The Welshman distanced his rivals with a stinging attack inside the final kilometre but just missed out on the stage win, finishing four seconds behind solo winner Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates).

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) crossed the line 11 seconds later to round out the day’s podium, highlighting the strength of Thomas’ late acceleration. He now leads the race by 1’09” from Damiano Caruso (BMC). 

Gianni Moscon started the day in the yellow jersey and rode well to limit his losses on the tough final climb. The young Italian now sits third overall on the same time as Caruso, while teammate Michal Kwiatkowski sits fifth at 1’15”. Moscon also retains the young rider's jersey.
Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

We stuck together and Tao did an exceptional ride. In the last kilometre I went to close as much down as possible.
Speaking to ITV after going to the podium to receive the leader’s jersey, a delighted Thomas talked through the day.

He said: “The boys rode really well at the start, we controlled that nicely then Bora wanted to ride, so that was good for us. On the final climb the guys rode really well and we controlled it.

“Obviously Yates and Mitchelton put the hammer down a bit and it was hard going but we stuck together and Tao did an exceptional ride. In the last kilometre I went to close as much down as possible. I took it quite steady on that last corner - I didn’t want a repeat of the prologue! A really good day.”

Asked if holding onto the jersey will be the toughest test of his career, Thomas continued: “Most definitely. These four days are the hardest four days I would have raced in a one-week stage race. They’re super hard climbing stages, even harder on the weekend now. I’ll try to enjoy tomorrow in the jersey and try to defend it. But it’s super hard and anything can happen. So far so good.

“There’s a lot of climbing tomorrow. It might be a short stage but there’s three big climbs and a little one as well. It’s certainly a big test.”

The short 130km stage was another fast and furious one in France, with an uphill start setting the tone. Dylan van Baarle and Luke Rowe rode strongly at the head of the peloton for the majority of the day, sharing pace making duties with Bora Hangsrohe ahead of the final climb.

All eyes were on the hors categorie Valmorel and the second summit finish in as many days but attacks were late to fire on the 12km climb.

Yates opened proceedings with a dig 4km from the finish. Thomas was quick to get on his wheel, before Martin caught and countered.

At that point Geoghegan Hart hit the front and put the hammer down, impressing for the second day running. His effort halved the gap to Martin and as he pulled off under the flamme rouge, Thomas went.

Romain Barder (AG2R La Mondiale) was able to stay with the 32 year old for a few seconds before losing the wheel and Thomas continued his pursuit of Martin, rolling in just four seconds behind the Irishman to put himself in a dominant position with two days to go.

Speaking after digging deep to finish 21st on the day, Moscon said: “It was a very hard stage. The uphill start was very tiring. From the gun, I still felt yesterday’s stage in my legs - I hadn’t fully recovered and I didn’t have one of my best days on the bike.

“Of course I’m still happy with how things went because we still have the leader’s jersey with Geraint. We can really play for the overall victory. There are two hard stages left with a lot of climbing.”
Stage 5 result:

1. Dan Martin (UAE) 3:21:19
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +4"
3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +15"
4. Emmanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +16"
5. Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) +16"

Overall standings:

1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)  17:16:53
2. Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) +1'09"
3. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) +1'09"

4. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) +1'10"
5. Michal Kwiatkowski +1'15"

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