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“I just got caught with 2km to go. I just tried to ride my own pace but maybe I should have tried to go with Pinot. I just lacked a bit of confidence really as I didn’t want to blow up."

Photo: Sirotti

GERAINT THOMAS

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

SERGIO LUIS HENAO

RIDER PROFILE
|
NEWS

TEAM SKY

NEWS

TOUR DE SUISSE

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
17.06.2015 @ 20:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A gutsy ride saw Geraint Thomas climb into second place overall at the Tour de Suisse following a mountainous queen stage.

 

The Welshman found himself alongside team-mate Sergio Henao in a select lead group on the spectacular climb of the Rettenbachferner, eventually crossing the line in fifth place.

 

With Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) jumping clear in the closing kilometres to take the stage win and capture the race lead, Thomas limited his losses well on the beyond-category summit finish, coming in 43 seconds back.

 

That performance elevated the Team Sky rider into second place, 47 seconds behind the Frenchman, with four stages still to race, including a final-day time trial.

 

Henao worked hard to support his team-mate, setting the pace in Sölden and helping to shut down a dangerous move from Simon Spilak (Katusha) on the relentless slopes.

 

Holding on to the line the Colombian was eighth on the stage and hauled himself up to 10th overall, 2:46 back, following the highest finish in Tour de Suisse history at 2669 metres!

 

Overnight leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) fell into difficulties early on the climb but dug deep to sit seventh overall. Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) was the last of a strong eight-man break to be caught a tantalising 1.5km from home.

 

Team Sky’s squad again combined well to support Thomas across the mammoth 237.2km test which saw the race head into Austria.

 

 

 

After the stage a content Thomas told TeamSky.com that the combination of a steep final climb and extreme altitude had meant a voyage into the unknown.

 

“It was encouraging,” said the Welshman. “I didn’t really know what to expect obviously with how hard the climb was and then the altitude as well on top of that. It was certainly going into the unknown. I’d never raced up a climb like that before. I’d always done a job and sat up. I’m pretty happy.

 

“I just got caught with 2km to go. I just tried to ride my own pace but maybe I should have tried to go with Pinot. I just lacked a bit of confidence really as I didn’t want to blow up. So I rode my pace but that meant that the other guys sat on me. There was a bit of a headwind and then they all jumped me at the end. But I think it’s positive and I’m still in the GC hunt now. If it all stays the same going into Sunday then it will be super close and all to race for.

 

“There’s Dumoulin at only 45 seconds behind me. I’m only 47 behind Pinot and me and Spilak are on pretty much the same time. He’s a handy time trialer so it will certainly be an exciting finale. But there are still a few big road stages to come so it could all change. But we’ll just keep going day by day I guess.”

 

Thomas also expanded on the challenge of riding at 2669 metres, adding: “You’re lungs are burning with the breathing. After being in Tenerife for two weeks I think that certainly helps but it is definitely different to going full gas at lower altitude. Riding at altitude is something I’ve managed to cope with fairly well in the past so it wasn’t too bad. But as soon as I crossed the line you’ve properly got an oxygen debt and really hurting then. You need a few minutes to get your composure again.”

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