LA ROSIÈRE, France (VN) — Geraint Thomas, stage 11 winner and the Tour de France‘s new race leader, says that he not just toeing some PR line from Team Sky — Chris Froome remains his leader in the 2018 Tour.
The Welshman powered away from the favorites group Wednesday and gained time on everyone, including teammate and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
Even with the yellow jersey, and a lead of 1:25 over Froome in second place, he will give his attention to Froome.
“It’s just how it is,” Thomas said when asked about saying Froome remains the leader.
“I feel some guys might sit here and give some PR bullshit but I just say how it is with me and that’s how it is. Froomey is the leader.
“For sure I’m not going to sit up and lose time, but I think we’re in a great position. It’s just a bit of an unknown for me to race over three weeks. It’s the ideal scenario at the moment and long may it continue.”
Thomas won the Critérium du Dauphiné heading into the Tour while Froome recovered from winning the Giro d’Italia. Froome won the season’s first grand tour ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), who now sits third overall at 1:44 in the Tour.
However, something has always gone wrong in Thomas’s past bids in grand tours. Last year, he led the Tour for four days, but while sitting second overall he crashed in stage 9 and abandoned. Earlier that year, he crashed out of the Giro d’Italia when he was riding as Sky’s GC leader.
He is untested as a leader deep into a grand tour. As week two rolls into week three, he could fade. Froome, however, already has a proven record with six grand tour wins. Given this, Thomas would work for Froome if needed.
“It depends on the situation and what’s going on in the race. How the team want to ride,” Thomas added.
“If I have to pull towards the end then I will. We’ll see.”
Thomas’s best place in a grand tour is 15th in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Tour. At the 2017 Tour, he won the Düsseldorf opening time trial on stage 1 and held the yellow jersey for four days. However, the stage 9 incident saw him go home with a broken collarbone.
“For me, it’s an unknown, it’s more just trying to get through the stage, stay in the position we were in at least and not lose time on GC,” Thomas said.
“Froomey knows how to win a three-week race, he’s still the leader. For me now, whatever happens, it’s been a successful Tour, it’s been an amazing feeling to win the stage and take the jersey, I’m super happy with that.
“Obviously I’d love to stay up on the podium as long as possible but the main thing is winning and Froomey is our best chance. There’s still half the race to go.”