Team Sky prepared to put the yellow jersey on the front to protect Chris Froome
Froome came into the race as Team Sky’s leader with Thomas as a back-up option, and despite Thomas taking the yellow jersey onto the race’s first summit finish to La Planche des Belle Filles, that plan remains unchanged.
“Yes, if needed,” was sports director Nicolas Portal’s response when asked if fans could expect the sight of the yellow jersey working on the front for his team leader.
“The thing is we came here with one goal,” Portal continued. “Obviously for Geraint it’s unbelievable [to wear yellow], it’s really cool, but the plan is to help Froomey 100 per cent.
“I think G, [Mikel] Landa, [Sergio] Henao, and Kwiato [Michal Kwiatkowski] will be the guys close to help out in the last three to five kilometres. So they will be close anyway.
“If we can keep the jersey for G it’s fine, but we need to really look after Froomey.”
Watch: Tour de France stage four highlights
Froome won on the climb in 2012, a Tour which saw a the growth of an apparent rivalry between him and team-mate and eventual race winner Bradley Wiggins.
When asked if we could see any repeat of that scenario, Thomas shook his head.
“No, not at all,” he said after Tuesdays’ stage to Vittel. “I’m fully behind Froomey. I’ll do as much as I can to help him win a fourth Tour.”
Froome also reminisced about 2012 as he looked forward to the short, sharp climb in the Vosges mountains in eastern France, but said that he would be riding a defensive race on Wednesday with the onus on his rivals to gain time.
“It is the first opportunity to test our legs on the climbs and see exactly where all of our rivals are at,” said the three-time Tour winner.
“After the way the time trial went, I expect some of my rivals will be looking to try to make up time and go on the offensive tomorrow.
“As a team, we’re in a really good position, G leading with myself in second. I think we will probably ride more of a defensive race tomorrow, and try to look after our positions. It’s up to the other teams to go on the offensive tomorrow.”