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Third Tour de France stage win for Sagan as Thomas retains lead

21 July, 2018, 20:10 | Author: Heidi Alvarez

The 12st stage of the Tour de France is always one of the most special and Geraint Thomas's historic victory made Thursday's ride one to remember, however there were also a couple of unsavoury incidents.

Sagan, who won stages two and six of this Tour, now has 11 Tour stage wins to his name.

Behind about 20 riders with a kilometre to go, Sagan charged to overtake runner-up Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Demare, who finished third, at the finish line.

But Thomas, who has a real chance of upstaging Froome to win the yellow jersey if the Kenyan-born champion fails to step up in the crucial, third week, said the doubters are wrong.

"It's changed, " he said.

Facing no attacks on the flat stage, Thomas had no trouble maintaining his advantage of 1 minute, 39 seconds over defending champion Froome.

Tom Dumoulin stayed third overall at 1:50 behind.

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As for the jeers directed toward him and Froome by fans skeptical of Froome's clearance from doping allegations days before the start of the Tour, he said it was part of being in the spotlight.

Asked why, he said: 'I think that's a question for the people out there. It got so bad that Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 champion, was knocked from his bike and out of the Tour entirely as he attempted to navigate a smoke-filled tunnel of fans with 3.8 kilometers left on his ascent of Alpe d'Huez.

Thomas won at the top of the iconic Alpe d'Huez on Thursday to tighten his grip on the race as Team Sky bid for a one-two finish in Paris.

Armstrong, who won the Tour a record seven times, saw all his cycling results erased when he finally admitted he had taken performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

But with Thomas so far proving to be the stronger rider even in the mountains where Froome normally makes his mark, their team appears ready to let the road decide.

"As a Frenchman, I feel ashamed", said Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal.

And Froome seems eager for the action to return. "But suddenly, we've seen a lot more", Froome told reporters, via AFP.

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