Following his 13th-place finish in the opening time trial at the Tour de Suisse on Saturday, Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) moved into the top 10 on GC after Sunday's second stage, a challenging circuit in Langnau im Emmental that included six categorised climbs.
Thomas finished safely in the bunch on the stage, six seconds behind solo stage winner Luis Leon Sanchez, and moved up five spots to eighth overall, 18 seconds behind new race leader Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
"I felt a lot better today - and felt a lot better as the race went on, really," Thomas said in an interview posted on the Team Ineos website. "It was a steep climb with 20km or so to go, but I felt fine. The legs felt good."
Thomas admitted that he felt a bit tired during Saturday's opening 9.5km time trial, which world champion Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) won in 10:50. Thomas covered the course 17 seconds slower.
"After yesterday, this was just what I needed - a long, attritional stage," Thomas said. "We’ve got three days before we hit the mountains, which will be the GC days, so hopefully we’ll be all good for that."
Tour de Suisse will be the final test for Thomas ahead of the Tour de France, where hopes to defend his 2018 title. Teammate and four-time Tour winner Chris Froome's crash earlier this week at the Criterium du Dauphine, where he suffered severe injuries that will rule out his participation at the Tour this year, clears the way for Thomas to take the Team Ineos reigns in France this July. He'll also have the services of young Colombian Egan Bernal in France, and the pair are getting reacquainted this week at Tour de Suisse.
"It’s nice to be riding with Egan again," Thomas said. "It’s good to get that bond and that understanding again. The main goal is the Tour, and there’s probably half the team here.
"But we also want to get a good result here," Thomas said. "Whenever you’ve got a number on your back, you want to be winning races. It’s not the be all and end all, though, as the main goal is the Tour in a few weeks time."