Team Sky, AG2R clash over Thomas puncture at Criterium du Dauphine

The Critérium du Dauphiné always acts as something of a tone-setter ahead of the Tour de France, and one potential storyline to watch will be the rivalry between Team Sky and AG2R La Mondiale. Not only were they the principal teams going toe-to-toe over the past week in France, but there was something of a falling out on the final day over the French team's riding on the front when Geraint Thomas suffered an untimely puncture.

Thomas punctured on the descent of the Col des Saisies, with just over 40km remaining, and was nearly a minute behind by the time he got a wheel from teammate Gianni Moscon and got going again.

That gap grew as AG2R piled on the pressure at the head of the peloton, and Thomas found himself alone before several teammates dropped back for him. It took some 15 kilometres for them to close the gap and once back in the peloton, Thomas could be seen riding up to AG2R leader Romain Bardet for a brief chat.

"When we finally got back, after a bit of a chase, a few of the guys – [Adam] Yates, Dan Martin and [Bob] Jungels – said the same thing, that they saw it, that someone went on radio and they started sprinting," Thomas revealed in his race winner's press conference in Saint-Gervais.

"I just went up to them and said thanks for that."

Despite a friendly exchange with Bardet behind the podium in Saint-Gervais, where he was waiting to be presented with his yellow jersey, Thomas suggested the matter wasn't completely swept under the carpet.

"I'm not one to hold a grudge but I also certainly won't forget it."

AG2R: We were already riding

The AG2R La Mondiale riders and staff flatly denied any wrongdoing and were slightly baffled that there could be any sense of controversy in the air.

"We were in the process of riding, and we weren't going to stop at the first puncture," said Bardet.

"That's racing. We didn't accelerate, we maintained the same pace. I explained to Geraint that of course, we're riding hard to win the stage."

Team manager Vincent Lavenu, who congratulated Thomas behind the podium and went over to praise the impressive Tao Geoghegan Hart, dismissed any complaints from Sky.

"We'd already been riding for 10 kilometres," he said.

"We weren't going to stop and wait for them. That's only logical."

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