The road was short, only 65 kilometers long. So when the road decided, it reach the conclusions quickly.
First on the list: Geraint Thomas, not four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, is the captain of Team Sky and the likely winner of this year’s Tour. The Welshman showed zero signs of weakness, leaving Froome behind and finishing third on the final hors categorie climb of the Col du Portet.
Thomas gained another 48 seconds on Froome, who drops to third on GC, 2:31 behind his former Domestique. Froome’s hope of a record-tying firth Tour win seems highly improbable and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) is now just 16 seconds behind the Briton and is more than a match for Froome in the upcoming time trial.
“It was a tough day. I was feeling all right,” said Thomas. “It was a hard start to that last climb. Obviously Quintana went, Roglic chased, Froomey was with him. We forced Dumoulin to ride for a bit. And that was really on. Then it settled down a bit. I was feeling pretty good so I would just react as soon as Roglic or Dumoulin moved. That is what I had to do. It was a good day.”
Second, the road announced that Nairo Quintana, not Mikel Landa, is the leader at Movistar. The Colombian pulled out a vintage performance, winning today’s stage and jumping up to fifth on GC. Landa finished with Froome and is a minute behind Quintana. Only one mountain stage remains so it’s probably out of the question that Quintana can reach the podium when he will lose time on Saturday’s 31 kilometer time trial from Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette.
Third, the road decided that Romain Bardet will not come close to the final Tour de France podium this year. The Frenchman said he came into this Tour with a “humble” attitude and he will leaved physically humbled. He dangled off the yellow jersey group on the final ascent and crawled in 1:28 behind Thomas. He’s in eighth place overall and over 5 minutes off the pace. Which sounds like, merde, there’s always next year.
In a final decision, the road made it clear that Froome and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will probably fight it out for second place on the podium. The runner-up in this year’s Giro d’Italia, the Dutchman finished just 5 seconds behind Thomas and now leads Froome by 31 seconds.
The road did not decided that Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) is a tough-ass bike rider. We’ve all know that for quite some time. He fought his way to second place on the Col du Portet, just not quite enough gas in the tank to close the gap on Quintana.