Geraint Thomas not sweating early Tour de France time loss

The defending champion dropped five seconds to team-mate Egan Bernal and Frenchman Thibaut Pinot on stage three

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Geraint Thomas (Ineos) says that he is not sweating the early five second time loss as he tries to defend his Tour de France title.

The Welshman slid back in the third stage as it ramped up towards the finish line in Épernay. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won the stage solo ahead of a group led by Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). Also tucked in the group, Thomas's team-mate and Ineos co-leader Egan Bernal and rival Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).

>>> La Planche des Belles Filles: Taking on the Tour’s brutal summit finish

Thomas led the next group home, in sight of the group ahead but distanced enough for the officials to count off five seconds.

Thomas said he was not worried about the five-second loss, but admitted it was frustrating.

"Obviously it was frustrating, but yeah, it's a hell of a long way to go so. It's all good," he said.

Alaphilippe celebrated with the yellow jersey on the podium while followers began to note that Thomas, the 2018 champion, had lost time.

Alaphilippe leads with 20 seconds on Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), 25 on Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), 40 on Bernal in sixth and 45 on Thomas in seventh.

On Tuesday morning in Reims, Thomas explained how it happened. He had been trying to save energy over the final 300 metres uphill by drifting – a trick many riders use as they save energy for the bigger mountain days.

"I kind of let some of the sprinters pass me into corner and then I was just hoping to drift back a bit, but as it happened, no one started coming past me, "Thomas added.

"And there was a bit of a gap, and then it's like 'Oh crap', but it is what it is. I don't think anyone has won the Tour on little five-second finishes like that."

The advantage yesterday swung in the favour of Frenchman Pinot, who placed third in 2014. Also, it gave Bernal a bit of an advantage in the team when it comes to leadership. Instead of being equals in the 2019 Tour, the 22-year-old now stands on top.

Thomas also took a tumble on day one in the final two kilometres but says that he is OK. In stage two, Ineos put time into all of their rivals except Jumbo-Visma. The team with Kruijswijk, fifth in 2018, gained 20 seconds.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.