French farmers bring Tour de France to standstill with protest

Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert crashed earlier in the stage while in the lead when descending from the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, hitting a wall and flipping off his bike but avoiding major injury. His first was a legal struggle behind the scenes, defending himself against allegations of doping.

This year's Tour has already seen the likes of Froome targeted by fans, and Thomas hopes there will be no further problems over the closing stages. Froome prevailed in both.

While Thomas followed Dumoulin, Froome quickly lost ground and had to be escorted up the rest of the way by Colombian teammate Egan Bernal, who kept turning around to check on his team leader.

Video and photos posted to social the media show the pair exchanging heated words before Froome continued on his way to the Team Sky bus. Either way, he rode the.

We are warning you now, if you're in any way squeamish - look away now. Dumoulin rode clear with yellow jersey Thomas and fourth overall Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo). "(Thomas) has ridden such an wonderful race, he deserves to be in yellow and fingers crossed he holds it now until Paris".

"My intention was never to criticise, just to draw some attention to the fact that I was getting pretty anxious about our guys", Brailsford added.

"In the last 200 metres I just thought I would go for the bonus seconds and get a little time gap as well", he said.

A Formula One-style grid start turned into something of a damp squib but by the end of the day it appeared Team Sky's leadership battle had been decisively settled in favour of Thomas.

"On the climb? I was thinking pain, that was pretty much it!"

Froome also had to deal with the pressure of an asthma drug case over the last nine months.

"I waited a bit for my own attack, but I didn't have the legs to drop Thomas and Roglic, I was happy I could stay with Roglic; Thomas was just the strongest".

Friday's stage is the final day in the mountains, but has a downhill finish in Laruns. "It gave me confidence, because if Froomey is suffering then everyone is suffering and I was feeling good", the 32-year-old Welshmansaid.

"I don't [feel exhausted from the Giro], I'm still riding strong, so I'm happy with my Tour so far".


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