Geraint Thomas (Ineos) admits he "really wasn't feeling great" on the Tour de France's Tourmalet stage, but hopes to bounce back in the mountain stages to come.
Thomas lost 36 seconds to his rivals, including Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) and race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step).
"I try to fuel well, rest [overnight], and do everything to be ok today," the Welsh 2018 winner said.
"I wasn't really feeling great all day. So hopefully, today everything is better."
On stage 15, the second Pyrenean summit finish of this year's race, the peloton will climb around 4,000 metres, offering up another crucial test for Thomas, Alaphilippe and the other GC riders.
"We just keep fighting to stay positive and keep working hard. And you know, we're still second and fourth [with Egan Bernal]. It's not like a disaster. So yeah, we'll keep plugging away," Thomas said.
"If that was my bad day, then it was quite a good day, I guess. But we won't know till the end, I could lose three minutes today.
"Everyone is going to struggle at some point. It's just how you deal with it and how you get through it. I think a lot is still going to change between now and Paris."
Thomas slipped behind in the final kilometre of the 19km climb. Pinot rode ahead for the eventual stage win with a group that included Alaphilippe, Bernal, Kruijswijk Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The Ineos rider still sits second, but is now 2-02 minutes behind Alaphilippe.
"It's obviously never nice to not feel your best. But I think I made the right call at the end to try to sort of ride my own pace and pace it and not blow up on the hardest part," continued Thomas.
"It wasn't one of our greatest days [as a team]. It was a good day for [Jumbo-Visma] for sure, Groupama-FDJ as well. It'll be an interesting final week.
"There's still four mountain stages left but I can't see [Alaphilippe] cracking at the moment but you never know in the Alps."
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