Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) has downplayed the significance of the time he lost on stage 2 of the Tour de France and stressed that the true contenders in this year’s race will not become apparent until the first rest-day in a week’s time.
Thomas came into this year’s Tour de France hunting his second title after sealing victory in 2018. He came through stage 1 unscathed and survived two major crashes but on stage 2 to the summit of the Mûr-de-Bretagne he was distanced by stage winner Mathieu van der Poel and more importantly several GC rivals including Tadej Pogačar, Primož Roglič, Julian Alaphilippe and his own teammate Ricard Carapaz.
Thomas lost close to half a minute, despite the fact it was his own team who set a furious tempo on the lower slopes of the final climb. He came into the start of stage 3 on Monday 41 seconds off the yellow jersey having dropped 10 places in the overall standings to 20th.
“The short and explosive ones aren’t my cup of tea really but I would have still wanted to been there,” Thomas said at the start of stage 3.
“I think it was a combination of things. When I back off and come into a race fresh I do struggle with that top-end and getting into it again. It just wasn’t a great day really. There’s no more that I can say. I just have to stay positive and stay focused on today. It was only stage 2 yesterday and there’s still a hell of a long way to go.”
Ineos are already on the back-foot in this year’s race after Tao Geoghegan Hart and Richie Porte both lost time on stage 1 due to crashes. The pair are now riding for Carapaz and Thomas but the Welshman believes that it’s still far too early to read anything concrete into the battle for the yellow jersey.
He pointed to the 27.2km time trial on stage 5 and the two stages in the Alps that come up this weekend as a better gauge when it came to reading both form and consistency.
“Everyone you expect to be up there was up there. So obviously the two Slovenians are going well but that’s no surprise, we knew that anyway. It will just be interesting to see where everyone else is. By the first rest day, we’ll have a real impression because we’ll have done a bit of climbing and the time trial. Then we’ll have a better idea of where everyone is.”
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