Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

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

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

Thomas, Froome, and the rest of the overall contenders slowly rolled across the finish line at Carcassonne and its medieval city walls 13 minutes after stage victor Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark.

Bardet crossed 14 seconds behind Thomas, Froome, and Dumoulin and his gap behind the yellow jersey holder fell to 3 minutes, 21 seconds, in fifth place overall.

Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome, and the rest of the overall contenders arrived at Carcassonne and its medieval city walls 13 minutes after the stage victor. This will be followed by the individual time trial on the penultimate day of the race.

Daniel Ostanek: Considering the likes of Thomas De Gendt, Lilian Calmejane and Julian Alaphilippe seem to be semi-permanent fixtures in the breakaway at this point in the race, Cort is probably not the name you'd immediately jot down when thinking of favourites for this stage.

Briton Geraint Thomas retained the overall lead after a 181.5-km hilly ride from Millau through the vineyards of Minervois, Corbieres and Cabardes in Southwestern France.

Only Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who is fourth overall now, 2 minutes and 38 seconds behind Team Sky's Thomas, gained some time on the main contenders when he attacked in the final climb.

"Anything can happen. Three big days in the Pyrenees to come plus a hard time trial".

"The way I see it is I would rather be in this jersey and having the race of my life and getting booed or whatever than maybe being 30th and dropped at the first climb of the day and everyone cheering me", Thomas added.

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Although Froome is Sky's team leader, Thomas said: "I hope to keep the jersey as long as possible".

The only serious attack by a top-ten rider in the overall standings came from Daniel Martin, the UAE Emirates leader, who tried a getaway while going up the Pic de Nore but was reeled in on the way down.

With 7km to go, a trio broke away formed of Nielsen, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Ion Izagirre Insausti (Bahrain-Merida).

Meanwhile, race officials took the decision to eliminate Moscon after he was involved in a fracas with Elie Gesbert of Fortuneo-Samsic shortly after the start in Millau.

Rafal Majka was leading the race on the final ascent when he barely avoided a fan who appeared to be pushed onto the road.

Cort Nielsen took part in a successful attempt to separate, then together with two companions split front shaping, and finishing the alignment coolly attacked from the first position and easily understood by competitors. The man was then nearly hit on the back by an authorized motorbike following Majka.

The International Cycling Union WorldTour race is set to resume on Tuesday (July 24), with a 218km route from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon.

Associated Press writers Ciaran Fahey and Joseph Wilson contributed.

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