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Bernal 'named Ineos leader for finale'

Bernal 'named Ineos leader for finale'
By Eurosport

26/07/2019 at 13:24Updated 26/07/2019 at 14:24

Egan Bernal will lead Team Ineos in the final three stages of the Tour de France, according to Eurosport sources, demoting defending champion Geraint Thomas to second fiddle.

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Julian Alaphilippe leads Bernal by 90 seconds in GC with two competitive stages remaining ahead of the customary procession into Paris on Sunday, with Thomas five seconds further back.

"...they may well be putting their eggs inside Egan Bernal’s basket..."

Team Ineos boss Dave Brailsford skirted questions about naming a leader, simply saying that they had to capitalise on having two riders still in the hunt for yellow.

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"It seems in this race that the person willing to die the most, trying to win, is going to win it," Brailsford told Eurosport. "And at the minute… the person who’s dying the most, who is turning himself inside-out is Alaphilippe.

"When it comes down to it, there’s those six guys who are there are on their own, fighting it out. Two of those six are from the same team and ultimately you need to make that count."

However, Eurosport cycling presenter Orla Chennaoui said she had been tipped off from inside Ineos that Bernal has got the nod over Thomas – leaving the Welshman with a dilemma.

"From what I’ve heard from inside the team, they may well be putting their eggs inside Egan Bernal’s basket," she said.

"That would leave a fascinating dilemma for Geraint Thomas. If he wants to defend his title, he may have to consider going against team orders."

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Bernal leapfrogged Thomas into second on GC after attacking with around 22 kilometres remaining on Thursday’s Stage 18.

Brian Smith added: "We could see a bit of anarchy in the team today. But if Geraint is going to do it, he has to listen to what we were saying and what Dave is saying. You have to go out there and grab it, turn yourself inside out if you want to win this race. And it’s on l'Iseran where he has to do it."

Team Ineos are short of numbers after Luke Rowe was expelled from the Tour for clashing with Tony Martin.

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