Tour de France 2018: Stage 20 Preview

Chris Froome was caught by a police official and tackled down to the ground

Chris Froome was caught by a police official and tackled down to the ground

However, it was always a case of saving energies for the two challenges to come, with almost three weeks of toil set to be decided on Friday.

Geraint Thomas moved to within touching distance of winning the Tour de France after sprinting to a second-place finish on the final mountain stage.

Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale), the lanterne rouge at this year's Tour de France since day one after the young American rider fractured his left scapula during a crash on the opening stage, will get today's time trial under way at 11am (BST).

The cycling world breathed a sigh of relief when Gilbert stood on the roadside and gave the thumbs up to the television camera, but after he finished the stage and was examined in the medical truck, he knew he would not continue on Stage 17.

But before the 32-year-old smooches the trophy - and probably his wife Sarah - in Paris on Sunday, Thomas will not relax. "I'm really sick of it, it doesn't make sense". "But if I see an opportunity, I will take it for sure", Dumoulin said.

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At the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Kansas City on Tuesday, he said, "I think the process is starting very soon, I hope".

"It is a solid course".

"It comes down to tomorrow but I can take confidence with how I'm riding, and what will be will be", he said.

Geraint Thomas takes a two-minute lead into the time trial.

A pair of Dumoulin attacks on the final climb were matched by Thomas, with Bernal also brilliantly rescuing Froome when Roglic appeared to have shaken off the defending champion. It's just a few weeks since fellow British cyclist Simon Yates took a solid advantage into the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia and ended up losing 40 minutes on his rivals, the exertions of the days before catching up with him at the worst possible moment.

Thomas will have the rare luxury of having four-time Tour victor Chris Froome ride in his service after his team-mate slipped to third overall on Wednesday, declaring afterwards he is now all-in for Thomas. Geraint Thomas would have been three school years above Gareth Bale and Sam Warburton at the Cardiff comprehensive but is a don't-do-anything-daft-now time trial away from arguably surpassing their achievements.

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I got the facilities as always. "So I think it was the flawless environment for him". At left-back, the resurgent Luke Shaw will be hoping to impress his manager.

"We train super hard".

But Roglič sounds happy about the upcoming test against the clock.

When asked what he would say to Team Sky critics who question their medical practices and athlete preparation, Thomas replied: "What can I say?" "But it's the same for everyone". I'm not bothered about Tom Dumoulin or Chris Froome.

If he avoids disaster on the way to the Champs Elysees in Paris on Sunday, Thomas will make history as the first Welsh victor of the Tour.

Froome? It's just one step closer to going home.

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