Britain’s Geraint Thomas jumped his rivals to win stage five of the Criterium du Dauphine with a superb 1km sprint.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider showcased his track cycling sprint endurance skills of the past by holding off Sonny Colbrelli (Team Bahrain Victorious) on the line to move within 14 seconds of overall leader Lukas Postlberger, who still retains a one second advantage over Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech).
Thomas powerfully broke away from the peloton with 1km to go and his rivals left it too late to catch the 2018 Tour de France winner, who is one of the favourites to win this year’s second Grand Tour.
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After yesterday’s disappointment in the time trial, Thomas was able to show his true ability with his head down and he says he took his opportunity.
“It wasn’t planned but I knew that Bahrain didn’t have any guys left, I knew it was all lined out and I knew that the last bit was a bit twisty so I just thought I’ll go for it,” he said.
'It was a bit spontaneous' Thomas on stage 5 Criterium win
“I went with a kilometre to go and the boys said on the radio that I’ve got a gap but to be honest, I didn’t think I had that on the line.
I just sat up maybe two metres before to start to give it the big boom but what a man, Colbrelli came by so fast he nearly took my helmet off. Really nice to get that win for sure.
“It was definitely disappointing yesterday. It was a combination of not great legs but also riding it really badly and dying in the second half where you need to be strongest. Nice to bounce back.”
Thomas says he is looking forward to the final three stages - it's a hilly stage six tomorrow, before the final two days in the mountains.
Chris Froome fell further back in the overall standings to 8 minutes and 46 seconds behind Postlberger.
Stage 5 result
1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 04:02:15
2 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
3 Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
4 Carlos Barbero (Spa) Team Qhubeka Assos
5 Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Den) Israel Start-up Nation
6 Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
7 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal
10 Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
General Classification after Stage 5
1 Lukas Postlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 16:59:22
2 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 00:00:01
3 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:06
4 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 00:00:09
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:13
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:14
7 Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team DSM 00:00:14
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:16
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:32
10 Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 00:00:34
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