PAU, France (VN) — Astana rider Jakob Fuglsang is growing exasperated at Team Sky’s dominance and his own inability to keep up in the Tour de France.
The 33-year-old Dane is struggling for a spot in the top-10 and said the biggest surprise of this Tour is the emergence of Geraint Thomas as the likely winner with just three days of racing left.
“It’s surprising that he [Thomas] had such a great Tour,” Fuglsang said Thursday. “He was already good in the Dauphiné and here he kept his form perfectly until now — that’s been a surprise and for a guy who’s never finished in the top 10 in a grand tour before.”
Thomas holds a commanding 1:59 lead to Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) with three stages to go. Fuglsang is 10th overall at 9:31 back, adding this Tour, “has not gone as well as I had hoped.”
After Wednesday’s decisive climbing stage in the Pyrénées, Fuglsang told Danish reporters that he was producing personal-best power on the climbs but could not keep pace with the Tour leaders. He mentioned that he had a conversation with former Sky rider Mikel Landa who also expressed dismay that he’s putting out personal-best numbers but still struggling to follow the leaders.
Fuglsang was quick to say his comments were more about his disappointment with his performance and should not be viewed as something more sinister.
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“I can’t be so disappointed with myself when I ride to my personal best. If that’s not enough, that’s what’s surprising for me,” Fuglsang said. “That’s not accusing anybody; I saw some people put it [my comments] out as an accusation — it’s more like the reality is that my personal best is not enough here in the Tour. “[Thomas] is a good guy and I hope that he holds on until Paris.”
Fuglsang, 33, came into the Tour quietly hoping for a shot at the final podium. Going into the closing stages, he’s 10th overall at 9:31 back with little chance of moving up. The Dane admitted he is questioning his own grand tour future after having a solid first half of 2018 that raised his pre-Tour hopes.
“On certain stages, I’ve produced up to my personal best and I’ve still been not good enough to be up there with the best,” Fuglsang said. “My future as a GC rider? I will look at that after the Tour. That is not something I am thinking about with these final stages.”
Fuglsang said like many he expected Chris Froome (Sky) to win the Tour. Even with Froome faltering, he said it’s impossible to attack Sky with its collective dominance at the front of the peloton.
“The way they ride and with the riders they have, nothing is left to chance,” he said. “I think we all believed that Froome would have been the one in the yellow jersey now. He was the favorite coming, in but if he’d managed to win four grand tours in a row, it would almost have been more surprising.
“He’s shown that he’s kind of human,” Fuglsang said of Froome. “And that even with the week extra between the Giro and the Tour this year, it might not have been enough for him to recover to win here.”