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The Ineos Grenadiers captain is emerging as the most direct threat to the UAE Team Emirates-Jumbo-Visma grip at the top of the general classification, but he says he is racing with a different attitude so far in this Tour.
“I’ve won it [the Tour] before and came second, so I don’t have anything to prove,” Thomas said Saturday. “It’s more just having fun and trying to take an opportunity.”
Thomas, 36, is poised in third overall at 1:14 behind race leader Tadej Pogačar, and said the looser, more open style that Ineos Grenadiers is adopting this year suits him just fine.
“It’s not as structured as it maybe was in the past, there’s a bit more flexibility there so it’s all good so far,” he said. “Yesterday was a good day and it’s just enjoying racing with the team.”
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Thomas won the Tour in 2018 as part of the then unstoppable Team Sky. The following year he was second to Egan Bernal. He missed the 2020 Tour and last year struggled with crashes to finish 41st.
Now back in top health, Thomas is keen on making the most of what might be one of his last opportunities to lead at the Tour.
“I’m feeling good,” he said Saturday at the team bus. “The team’s riding well and we’re all working well together.
“That’s why I was a bit annoyed after the TT and Roubaix stage because I felt like I had good legs but for one reason or another I couldn’t quite get it all out.”
Thomas raced as part of the team’s heyday, winning multiple yellow jerseys with Chris Froome before striking gold himself in 2018.
Now facing Pogačar, Thomas is trying to stay calm, enjoy the ride, and wait for an opening to exploit.
“What can you say [about Pogačar] he’s an unbelievable talent,” he said. “He lost a teammate today but I don’t think that’s going to affect him. We need to stay positive and use our numbers when it matters later on in the race.”