Tour de France
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Geraint Thomas again loses time on GC rivals, but re-finds his confidence

Reigning champion Thomas looked to have regained confidence and form on Stage 15 only to find his momentum curtailed by Monday's rest day.

PRAT D’ALBIS, France (VN) —Geraint Thomas (Ineos) feels back in the hunt for a second consecutive Tour de France title.

On stage 15, Sunday, he managed his rivals on the Prat d’Albis summit finish with the precision that won him the 2018 title. The Welshman said that he has confidence heading into the second of two rest days.

“Yeah, I feel good,” he said when asked if his self-esteem was high.

“I think I finished strongly today and maybe I could have gone with them when they attacked, but I think just riding my own pace with Wout Poels was the right thing to do at the time. But then yeah, as I say, we kind of got stuck with behind Julian Alaphilippe and we weren’t gonna ride with him, for sure.

“But yeah, I’m feeling good and looking forward to the Alps.”

Thomas said that he was feeling so good that he wished they were racing Monday instead of resting in Nîmes for the second rest day. After the rest, the race will restart with three mountain stages before the Paris finish on Sunday.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won the stage finish in the rain and mist, making for a humid day.

Thomas let Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) ride free and his Ineos teammate Egan Bernal rode along. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) attacked in his yellow jersey, but then began to fade.

Thomas, compared to 24 hours earlier, looked cool and collected. He had his teammate Wout Poels pace him. They picked up and then dropped Alaphilippe by 27 seconds and kept Pinot at 49 seconds.

Alaphilippe looks to be weakening, but maintains a 1:35-minute lead over Thomas heading to Nîmes. Only 39 seconds separate Thomas in second place to Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) in sixth – and in between are Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), Pinot and Bernal.

“Yeah, Alaphilippe was obviously still quite punchy when he went with the guys, and I decided to just let them go and ride my own pace with Wout. But then obviously when we caught Alaphilippe we didn’t want to give them a turn so kind of got stuck a bit there,” Thomas said.

“I felt good at the top and feeling kind of like my old self again. I’m looking forward to the Alps now and kind of wish we could just keep going and not have this rest day.

“I had some good legs at the end which is the most important thing. I’m confident that I’m going to get stronger now.

“There are three or four of us. All there. I can only speak for myself, but I feel like I’m on the right trajectory going forward. And I’m really looking forward to the Alps now.”