Geraint Thomas' Tour de France challenge ends in the Alps

Ineos Grenadiers Geraint Thomas at the Tour de France
Ineos Grenadiers Geraint Thomas at the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Despite surviving Friday's long and gruelling stage 7, Geraint Thomas' Tour de France challenge came to an end on Saturday as the race reached the Alps. 

In fact, the 2018 winner's hopes evaporated even before the high mountains begun, as he was dropped on an early uncategorised climb and slotted into a gruppetto that steadily lost time throughout a frantic stage. 

He would eventually finish just inside the time cut, some 35 minutes down on the stage winner.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider, who dislocated his shoulder in a stage 3 crash, was dropped towards the end of Friday's stage but managed to regain contact and finish with the rest of the overall contenders. 

However, on Saturday it was soon clear that he will not challenge for yellow this year. The first of two Alpine stages started out with a tough six-kilometre climb, where the peloton exploded. Thomas hung on for a while but fell away near the top. 

After more movement on the subsequent descent, some 65 riders emerged in the front peloton, with another group of 30 chasing, followed by the Thomas group. Soon posted at 90 seconds, the group was soon filled out by sprinters, including Mark Cavendish, who'd been dropped earlier on the climb, to form one large gruppetto. 

By the intermediate sprint at kilometre-45, they were six minutes behind the front of the race. 

Thomas, who lost a little time on stage 3 and was below his best in the stage 5 time trial, started the day 13th overall, 5:29 down on race leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and 1:46 behind pre-race favourite Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates). 

Thomas had Luke Rowe and Dylan van Baarle for company behind, while leadership definitively passed to Richard Carapaz in the front group, though the Ecuadorian was forced to bow to the imperious Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates). 

Thomas eventually crossed the line fourth from last, 35 minutes down on the winner and just inside the time cut.

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