Published: Fri, July 20, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Abuse mars Geraint Thomas's historic summit victory at Tour de France

Abuse mars Geraint Thomas's historic summit victory at Tour de France

After seeing his yellow jersey dream go up in smoke on Tuesday, when Sky refused to help overhaul Thomas's 43sec deficit to overnight leader Greg Van Avermaet, the Welshman made amends in style.

A spectator has thrown a smoke bomb into the Tour de France peloton as it passed by on Friday (Saturday NZT). "Don't touch the riders".

Thomas bridged the gap to Dumoulin and enjoyed a moment's respite before attacking the Dutchman and then mowing down the last man standing from the breakaway, Mikel Nieve, metres from the line, nabbing the stage victory and the yellow jersey.

The third and final day in the Alps is on Thursday when sparks are expected to fly on the 14km climb, over 21 hairpin bends, to the summit of Alpe d'Huez.

"It's unreal", Thomas said aftrewards.

The group of leaders with Netherlands' Tom Dumoulin, Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, Britain's Geraint Thomas and Britain's Chris Froome speeds downhill during the eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 108.5 kilometers (67.4 miles) with start in Albertville and finish in La Rosiere Espace San Bernardo, France.

Geraint Thomas, the stage victor, overall leader and Froome's Team Sky teammate, was booed both as he crossed the finish line and stood on the winner's podium, and now Tour director Christian Prudhomme has had just about enough.

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Lance Armstrong won an individual time trial up Huez in 2004 while wearing yellow but that victory was later stripped for doping. The riders on the Tour, and champions of the Tour, must obviously be respected, as they are by the large majority of the public. "You expect professional athletes to play and entertain without being impacted on by the crowd".

Vincenzo Nibali recovered from a crash in the final kilometres to finish seventh in the stage.

"In my eyes, Froomey is still our leader", said Thomas.

"When you've got fans touching and interfering with the riders, who are doing everything to try and get up the climb, that's not a situation anyone wants to see". "There were two police motorbikes, but no barriers at that point", the Italian said.

Bernal ground the pace and guaranteed the long-range attack of Steven Kruijswijk was finally caught. It's the shortest stage in 30 years, a deliberately disruptive move on the part of Tour organizers pushing back against predictability. "They really took the race to us".

Fans camping out on Huez for weeks before the race create a raucous atmosphere.

In the jousting that preceded the final sprint to the summit, Dumoulin noted that Froome attacked while Thomas stayed on Dumoulin's wheel.

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