Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) says that Chris Froome's stage winning attack on stage 8 of the Tour de France had not been pre-planned. Thomas, one of Froome's key helpers in the mountains, says Froome's late move on the descent of the Col Peyresourde was one of opportunity rather than by design.
"Today we weren't planning on doing too much but the way that the race went, everyone was on their knees. He's a racer so he took advantage of that and it's great that he could gain some time," Thomas said.
Froome slipped away with a sharp acceleration just after the KOM marker at the top of the Peyresourde, just as rival Nairo Quintana took a chance to take in some refreshment. He built his lead with a rapid descent, giving no quarter in the corners and adopting an aerodynamic, if bizarre looking, position on the top tube - a style that was made famous by Matej Mohoric in the 2013 under-23 World Championship road race.
Thomas says that Froome has not specifically been working on his descending in training. "He's always been able to descend fast, he's just a bit wobbly and doesn't look too good but he can go quickly," explained Thomas. “When you're away on your own you commit 100 per cent and behind guys are always looking at each other. No matter how committed Quintana is he'll always be looking for guys to come through and you lose time there. It was great to see him."
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Thomas' day in the saddle was a little more of a rollercoaster. The fast pace has Thomas struggling from the off and after being distanced further down the Peyresourde, he was forced to dig in and fight his way back. However, he found himself with a struggling Alberto Contador and unwilling to help the Tinkoff rider closer to his teammate, Thomas was forced to hold station.
"It was solid and it was on all day out there," Thomas explained. "The break didn't go all day until the Tourmalet, which made it really tough out there. I was suffering, I was on my knees and luckily I came around. Unfortunately, I was with Contador so I wasn't going to pull or anything, but to hear that Froomey had a gap and was pulling away was amazing to hear on the radio.
"I was thinking of trying to jump past him in the last three kilometres but I didn't want to drag him back to them so being the good teammate I just sat on his wheel."