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"Geraint showed some fast thinking and did a brilliant job to shut that late gap down. The others had looked after him all day, and that meant he had enough in the tank to react when he needed to."

Photo: Sirotti






19.06.2015 @ 01:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Geraint Thomas gained five seconds on his nearest rivals at the Tour de Suisse by sprinting to 11th place on a fractious finale in Biel/Bienne.


Thomas did well to stay upright on the slippery run in which caused several crashes and splits in the peloton, and battled brilliantly to latch on to the end of a six-man group who crossed the line two seconds behind the day’s victor, Peter Sagan.


Thibaut Pinot and Simon Spilak missed that split, and the five seconds they lost saw Thomas reduce his deficit on Pinot (FDJ) to 42 seconds, whilst moving eight seconds ahead of Spilak (Katusha) on the overall standings.


Sergio Henao meanwhile, defended his 10th place in the general classification by rolling home in the yellow jersery group alongside Christian Knees and Kanstantsin Siutsou.   


Much of the day had passed predictably enough for a sprint stage, with four riders moving clear and building an advantage of around five minutes before it was gradually whittled back down by the peloton.


Team Sky’s domestiques did a good job of keeping Thomas well positioned whilst that happened, and their efforts proved fruitful with the Welshman picking up what could be five valuable seconds come Sunday.


It was the rainy conditions which prompted the splits, and caused Etixx – Quick-Step’s lead-out train to end prematurely after two riders slid out on one dicey corner.


Tinkoff-Saxo then assumed control of the bunch, but splits formed in the closing stages as several riders were unwilling to risk everything for glory.


Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) had placed his fears to one side as the action reached its conclusion, but the Norwegian’s sprint was thwarted as he almost fell on the final corner. That played into Sagan’s hands, who rode away from his rival and then breezed past Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) before wrapping up his second win in the space of four days.



Back at the team bus, Sports Director Gabriel Rasch was pleased to report a clean a bill of health, and delighted to see Thomas take time on his closest competitors.


He told “It was a bit sketchy at the end but our riders came through OK. Geraint showed some fast thinking and did a brilliant job to shut that late gap down. The others had looked after him all day, and that meant he had enough in the tank to react when he needed to. He’s in good spirits right now and knows everything is still possible going into the last three stages.


“Tomorrow will be tricky one - it ends on a circuit with a climb and some twisty roads – and on paper it looks similar to the fourth stage with Michael Matthews (Orica – GreenEdge) won.


“It’s going to be a tough one, and another important day, but the team we have here is looking strong and we’re all ready to take it on.”      



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