Tour de France 2018: Geraint Thomas Wins Stage 11, Claims Yellow Jersey

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 18, 2018

Great Britain's Geraint Thomas, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after winning the eleventh stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Albertville and La Rosiere, French Alps, on July 18, 2018. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILIPPE LOPEZ/Getty Images

Team Sky took control of the 2018 Tour de France general classification on Wednesday as Geraint Thomas broke free of the peloton to win Stage 11 and claim the yellow jersey.

Thomas soared into the lead after surging late to overtake Mikel Nieve and claim first place in the classification, where he sits one minute, 25 seconds ahead of team-mate Chris Froome.

Wednesday's route took riders from Albertville to La Rosiere, the Tour's first true summit finish and a gruelling portion of the race despite being the second-shortest non-time-trial stage at 108.5 kilometres.

Froome took third in Stage 11 behind Thomas and second-place Tom Dumoulin, leaving the Welshman Thomas with a decent cushion heading into the second half of this year's Tour, per the race's official Twitter account:

Team Sky have taken no time in establishing a foothold at the summit of the general classification despite this being their first stage victory of the 2018 Tour.

It was a mighty end to proceedings for Thomas, who made his move with around five kilometres to go, and BBC Sport Wales reporter Gareth Rhys Owen was blown away by the new leader's late rush:

Team Sky took a grip on the peloton until midway through the race, when Movistar's Alejandro Valverde launched an assault on the ride to the summit of Col du Pre, the third-highest peak featured on Stage 11.

It was on this ascent that BMC Racing star Greg Van Avermaet appeared to concede he would lose his yellow jersey.

Nieve formed a lead group with Astana rider Michael Valgren and Warren Barguil approaching the final climb to La Rosiere, the former breaking free with a little less than 10 kilometres to go.

But it was ultimately heartbreak for the Mitchelton-Scott star, who was pipped by Thomas less than one kilometre from the line in what capped off a superb climb chase:

Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish had a difficult Stage 10 and only just finished inside the time limit, but his struggles continued on Wednesday as he struggled to keep pace with his peers.

Mechanical errors and a gulf in competition have both worked against the Manx rider so far this summer, and ProCyclingStats.com showed how the speed of the race took its toll again on Stage 11. This time he couldn't reign in the gap and was eliminated after missing the time cut:

Thomas won one Tour stage in 2017 and has doubled his tally with the lung-busting run to La Rosiere, but the alpine setting will be back on Thursday for the Stage 12 journey from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d'Huez.

Team Sky have bided their time in staking a claim on the yellow jersey, and questions will now turn to how long they can stay ahead of the pack, as well as wondering when Froome will make a more serious push for the lead.

Related

    Olympic Track Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dies at Age 23

    Cycling logo
    Cycling

    Olympic Track Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dies at Age 23

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report

    Geraint Thomas Wins BBC SPOTY

    Cycling logo
    Cycling

    Geraint Thomas Wins BBC SPOTY

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport

    Thomas' Tour de France Trophy Stolen

    Cycling logo
    Cycling

    Thomas' Tour de France Trophy Stolen

    BBC News
    via BBC News

    With Yates' Win at Vuelta, British Domination Is Complete

    Cycling logo
    Cycling

    With Yates' Win at Vuelta, British Domination Is Complete

    USA TODAY
    via USA TODAY