LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES, France (Reuters) – Protecting champion Geraint Thomas received time on his opponents in a brutal end within the 6th degree of the Excursion de France as a number of most sensible weapons cracked within the lung-busting ascent to Los angeles Planche des Belles Filles on Thursday.
Belgian Dylan Teuns prevailed after a protracted breakaway on the finish of the 160.5-km experience from Mulhouse forward of Italian Giulio Ciccone, who claimed the total chief’s yellow jersey to apply his first position within the mountains classification on the Giro d’Italia.
However all eyes had been at the total contenders within the 7km ultimate climb at a mean gradient of 8.7% that featured a last gravelled phase the place status up at the pedals — a standard place for the natural climbers — was once nearly inconceivable.
Thomas took complete good thing about the terrain to provide brutal acceleration and take fourth position, 1:44 at the back of Teuns, who snatched his maiden degree win on a grand excursion.
“I felt lovely excellent. I believed it might be a extra forged day – it’s by no means simple, however it was once stable for the primary 3 climbs,” mentioned Thomas, whose efficiency lifted probably the most doubts about his situation after a crash pressured him out of the Excursion de Suisse closing month.
“When Movistar went and (Alejandro) Valverde had been driving it was once forged, I used to be feeling lovely excellent – I used to be simply not sure as on the ones steep climbs I used to be anticipating Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana and clearly Egan to leap up there, so I used to be hoping for it to be toughest all day earlier than that. But it surely was once a excellent day after all,” he added.
France’s Thibaut Pinot, who were tagged because the pre-stage favorite on an ascent positioned 15km from his house the city, reacted abruptly within the closing 200 metres on asphalt to restrict the wear and tear to a two-second loss.
Thomas’s Ineos workforce mate Egan Bernal of Colombia gave the impression much less contemporary and misplaced 9 seconds to the Briton, prolonging the established order within the workforce’s shared management.
Bernal, 22, was once named as co-leader by means of important Dave Brailsford and it seemed like he would overthrow Thomas after gaining 5 seconds on him in Monday’s 3rd degree.
Total, Ciccone leads France’s Julian Alaphilippe, who wore the yellow jersey within the morning, by means of six seconds after the Deceuninck-Fast Step rider needed to accept 6th position.
“It is an out of this world day, I simply cannot realise. It is the dream of any individual who loves biking,” mentioned the 27-year-old Ciccone, who snatched the jersey due to 14 bonus seconds he grabbed at most sensible of the Col de Chevreres and by means of completing moment within the degree.
A number of the most sensible contenders, Thomas is 5th, 49 seconds at the back of, and leads sixth-placed Bernal by means of 4 seconds and seventh-placed Pinot by means of 9.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali, who was once looking ahead to that degree to evaluate his shape after completing moment total in a challenging Giro d’Italia in Might, misplaced 51 seconds to Thomas, whom he now trails by means of 1:07 total.
The day additionally signalled the top of Romain Bardet’s hopes after the Frenchman, two times a podium finisher at the Excursion, misplaced over a minute and now lags greater than two mins at the back of Thomas.
“I used to be no longer on the required degree as of late, and as arduous as it’s I’ve to stand it,” Bardet informed newshounds.
“I can attempt to perceive what came about.”
Friday’s 7th degree is a 230km flat experience from Belfort to Chalons sur Saone.
(Reporting by means of Julien Pretot; Modifying by means of Ed Osmond)