Jul 25 2018 12:28 am CET The 16th stage of the Tour de France has been the first day in the Pyrenees and despite the lack of attacks in the peloton, the breakaway displayed a good performance that even included some worrying crashes.
Yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas (Sky) crossed the finish line almost nine minutes in arrears after yet another stage in which his race lead did not come under threat. They were caused by the liberal use of tear gas by members of the gendarmerie who were attempting to disperse a bunch of angry French farmers.
Sticking his tongue out in apparent exhaustion, it was a strong signal that Froome has reached his limit after winning the last three Grand Tours - the Tour and Spanish Vuelta past year and the Giro d'Italia in May.
This means Tom Dumoulin moves into second place to split the two Sky riders, Thomas and Froome, on the podium.
Dan Martin finished second on the brutal stage 17 of the Tour de France behind victor Nairo Quintana, but Geraint Thomas kept a firm grip of the leader's yellow jersey. He had a bloody elbow and knee, but was able to get back on his bike and continue the Tour.
Yates led Alaphilippe by 20 seconds at the top of the Col du Portillon climb 10 kilometres from the finish but lost control with 6K to go, falling to the pavement on a left turn and sliding across the road.
The climber from Boyaca proved to be too strong for his competitors during the 65-kilometer mountain stage of which 42 were uphill.
Prudhomme's point about the dangers riders already face on the road was illustrated by nasty crashes for Adam Yates and Philippe Gilbert, who both crashed out of the lead in separate incidents - Yates just 6.5km from home. The cycling family, I get a lot of support from everyone...
"I know it's an interesting dynamic, but these two guys deserve so much credit for the way they have handled themselves", Brailsford said.
Though he rode to the finish, the Bora-Hansgrohe rider was expected to go for scans, putting at risk a sixth green jersey which is mathematically his as long as he makes it to Paris.
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