Sky's Geraint Thomas says there's no pressure on his team leader Richie Porte in this Tour de France. The Australian is in second place overall, 2:23 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), but Thomas says that although the team will do their level best to keep him in a podium position, Porte has already had a great race.
"I think if you'd told Richie in May that he'd be sitting in second place in the Tour at this point of the race, he wouldn't have believed you, that's for sure," the Welshman told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 11 in Besancçon on Tuesday. "There's no real pressure on him, but we're of course all excited about his chances, and are ready to get stuck in as we head into the Alps and then the Pyrenees to do the best we can for him.
"Nibali's got a nice buffer, but otherwise it's still really close," Thomas said. "But a lot can still happen, and there are some big days to come."
Thomas points to the four mountain-top finishes - two in the Alps and two in the Pyrenees - as stages where the general classification is likely to be considerably shaken up.
"It was a very tough and demanding first 10 days, and there are a lot of very tired riders in the peloton at the moment, but considering we've lost Froomey [defending Tour champion Chris Froome, who crashed out on stage 5], I think we can be really happy with where we are at the moment."
For his part, Thomas is one of just two Britons left in the 2014 Tour - the other being Orica-Green Edge's Simon Yates - and he's continued to feel the love since the race left British shores behind following the first three stages in Yorkshire and London.
"I'm certainly feeling the support on Twitter and on the side of the road, which is good for morale and motivation," said Thomas. "It's also nice for me to still be around in the top 15 [14th, 5:17 behind Nibali going in to stage 11] as I've always come here to the Tour saying that I'd like to move on a bit on the climbing side of things, which I've managed to do so far. I'll keep supporting Richie the best I can, but maybe if tactics come in to play in the last week, I can even get into a break on one of the stages."
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