Geraint Thomas (Ineos) is “fine” after a crash on Tour de France stage nine but “the worst” was that Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) gained time in the race for the final overall classification.
The Welsh 2018 Tour de France winner fell over Michael Woods (EF Education First) at 15 kilometres to race to Saint-Étienne, just before the top of a climb where Pinot attacked with new race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
“I’m fine, but it was just frustrating obviously,” Thomas said while warming down on his bike.
“It was a key moment in the race, Woodsy crashed, and just took out Gianni [Moscon] and me. I just got tangled up in Gianni’s bike a bit and it took a bit of time to get going but the boys did a great job and I closed the gap, the final bit and slowly moved up the group.
“It’s annoying and frustrating, but at the same time, to come back like I did shows the legs are good at least. You just don’t ever want to give an unnecessarily time away. If I hadn’t crashed, I could have followed [Pinot], so a totally different story then. That’s the way it goes. There is still a lot of racing to come.”
Moscon’s Pinarello frame set snapped in half. Thomas was “gassed” however when he returned to the group of favourites that Pinot had just escaped from.
“By the time I got to the top 20 to 15, that’s when they sprinted over the top then for seconds, so then, I was gassed for a bit,” Thomas continued.
“Yeah, I just didn’t want to ride on the front and tow everyone, kinda hoping with the numbers, but there was just no speed in it. It was frustrating, I just sat there thinking, ‘Come on.'”
It was Thomas’s second crash in the Tour de France after he fell in the closing two kilometres of stage one.
Pinot, winner of two stages in the last years, placed third overall in 2014.
“Very,” Thomas replied bluntly when asked how dangerous of a rival is Pinot in the overall.
“I think he’s been on the podium before,” Thomas said. “he’s riding really strongly. So a big threat.”
Thomas looked at his left arm that was covered with chain grease when asked where the worst was.
“The left,” he continued. “But the worst was that Pinot got time. I’m fine.”