Published: Fri, July 27, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Tour de France: Defending champion mistaken for fan and tackled by police

Tour de France: Defending champion mistaken for fan and tackled by police

Sprinters Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen - who had each won two stages in this Tour - called it quits during Stage 12 to Alpe d'Huez. "For me, so far it has not been possible to gain time on him".

Demare said he was motivated by an accusation on social media from Andre Greipel, a top German sprinter, who alleged that Demare held on to his team vehicle on the way up the grueling Col du Portet in Stage 17.

He was fit enough to return to the peloton on stage 18 and briefly threatened to challenge for the victory before Arnaud Demare finished with a flourish.

Greipel, who also quit in Stage 12, later apologized on Twitter, saying he had relied on "incorrect" information.

"However, there is still a big time trial on Saturday". It's regrettable that people doubt my performances. "I was fighting for the stage win and it worked out very well". (Cheating) is not my philosophy.

Thomas added: "We are coming to race our bikes, that's all we want to do".

Yates was on his own and in the lead when he crashed on the descent of the Col du Portillon, the fifth and last climb of the day, his front wheel skidding away from under him as he negotiated a left-hand bend. UAE-Emirates have a stage win but not for Alexander Kristoff so it's probably all in for him unless they put a man in the escape.

Up amid the thin and misty air of the Col du Portet - rated the second toughest climb in Tour history - Froome cracked on the feared 17th stage through the Pyrenees on Wednesday, solidifying Sky teammate Geraint Thomas's hold on the yellow jersey.

The Team Sky rider increased his general classification lead over Tom Dumoulin to two minutes and five seconds heading into Saturday's time trial, with Chris Froome dropping to fourth overall behind Primoz Roglic following the Slovenian's fine stage victory.

Geraint Thomas on the podium on Friday. The Briton vowed
CHRISTOPHE ENA AP Geraint Thomas on the podium on Friday. The Briton vowed"I wont take my eyes off the ball

Thomas looks well placed to defend his overall race leader's yellow jersey in the Tour's last day in the mountains on Friday, the 200.5km 19th stage from Lourdes to Laruns in the Pyrénees. "It will be hard, but tomorrow we hope to turn the race around".

"It's the last mountain stage and I think guys are going to take any opportunity they can".

"I think tomorrow will be much harder, but I consider myself lucky that, after such a crash, I'm still in the race and not sitting at home".

While Thomas followed Dumoulin, Froome quickly lost ground and had to be escorted up the rest of the way by Colombian teammate Egan Bernal, who kept turning around to check on his team leader.

"Hopefully we won't have to use Froomey".

"Obviously having "Froomey" at my disposal so to speak is phenomenal", Thomas said.

Perhaps a bigger worry for Thomas and Froome concerns the unruly fans who have consistently affected this Tour by spitting at riders - or even reaching out to grab them.

"He must have made a mistake on one of the corners".

Brailsford took aim at spectators who have jostled and spat at his riders during the race when he said on Monday that it does not happen at other races and was uniquely French. "But when I got back to the hotel and was showed the pictures it was obviously something else".

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