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Geraint Thomas (Sky) was off the front for nearly the entire stage and would receive the most combative rider award.
Welshman revels in stage 12 breakaway
Geraint Thomas had a few hairy moments on the descent of the Hourquette d'Ancizan, but the Team Sky rider says that it won't make him overly cautious when it comes to the high mountains of the Tour de France.
The Welshman was speaking before the start of stage 13, following the day to Luz Ardiden, when he'd spent almost the entire stage away from the peloton.
Asked how he was feeling, Thomas said he's come a long way since his Tour debut, four years ago with Barloworld.
"I'm not too bad considering," he mused. "All I've got to do is think back to 2007 and I feel great...The stress of the first week is tiring, then obviously pedalling your bike and racing at the front is tiring as well."
Thomas enjoyed a "great day out" on stage 12, where he along with Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun), Blel Kadri (Ag2R) and Jeremy Roy (FDJ) fought to move ahead of the main bunch.
"I've climbed the big mountains at the Tour before but to be at the front was just phenomenal," Thomas recalled.
However, the action for Thomas came on his descent of the Hourquette d'Ancizan where some mud on his back tyre caused a few scary moments.
"Once I changed my bike and I got my head back I was alright," he explained. "I won't be doing anything different, I'll just descend like I always do. I always take care now but when I was a bit younger I used to throw caution to the wind a bit more – you go down fast but you definitely don't take too many stupid risks."
Remarkably, the 25-year-old said he was unaware that there was a €5,000 prize for the first man to reach the summit of the Col du Tourmalet, letting Roy take the honours.