BRITAIN’S Chris Froome paid tribute to colleague Geraint Thomas after the unsung Welshman fought off repeated threats to the Team Sky star’s Tour de France advantage yesterday.
Froome came under attack from yellow jersey rivals Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali on a taxing 16km climb in the Pyrenees on stage 12, but Thomas helped to rein in the surges and protect his commanding lead in the general classification. The 2013 Tour winner leads by two minutes and 52 seconds from American Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing, while Thomas remains fifth. Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez won the stage.
“Geraint’s been really strong. We saw how good he was during that first week, and he’s been fantastic in the Pyrenees,” said Froome. “I was lucky to have Richie and Geraint with me when the attacks started and it made it a lot easier to control things with my team-mates in that position. I owe them both a beer tonight.”