Tour de France: Cool, calm and collected Geraint Thomas navigates through the Danish test as the cobbles loom

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Three stages later and apart from a dress code issue and a few conservative turns in the opening time trial, Geraint Thomas has made no mistake in this year’s Tour de France.

These two minor errors, the first when Thomas forgot to take off his vest, will probably count for a lot after three weeks of racing through Denmark and France, but Thomas was in the right place at the right time and avoided his eternal weakness. . to crash at the start of major tours.

After three days of racing, Thomas is 31 seconds off the race lead and in 12th place overall, but most importantly, he is only 18 seconds behind race favorite Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates ).

The Welshman wasn’t in the mass pileup that took down his two teammates Dani Martínez and Filippo Ganna on Stage 2, and when there was a touchdown on the short cobblestone section of Stage 3, the veteran driver was once again close to the front and out of danger.

Towards the end of the two road stages, he was avoided by his teammates, but he also went through gaps on his own and changed wheels when he felt the need. He hasn’t looked so calm or comfortable since his purple Tour de France crest in 2018 when he won, and then in 2019 when he finished second to team-mate Egan Bernal.

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“I’m picking up the pace and almost don’t really feel like traveling and having that day off, but the team rode well together and it’s a good start,” Thomas said at the end of the week. step 3.

“It was less stressful than in the past. Because of the weather, the wind was not too strong or in the right direction. So it was a bit colder than previous years. It’s still stressful, but I was able to enjoy it a little more.

After Sunday’s stage, the race heads to mainland France for a rest day before the race restarts on Tuesday.

The next big stage will be stage 5 when the Tour tackles the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix. Thomas should be well equipped for this test, although luck will no doubt be a feature as well.

“Wednesday is the big day on the cobbles, so I’ll just try to rest and then it’s back,” he said.

Ineos still has its two other GC cards in the frame with Martínez and Adam Yates in contention. Martínez suffered no major injuries in the Stage 2 crash and Yates had a superb opening time trial.

The English climber is eighth overall and 30 seconds from yellow. Considering he missed the end of the Tour de Suisse due to COVID-19 and was not even certain of a Tour start days before the start of the race, his opening performances were simply impressive.

“It’s been good,” he said rather modestly after Stage 3.

“The TT was the first big test for a long time and as you said I didn’t really test myself in Switzerland before the mountains. It was a good hit and I restarted the engine. For the past few days I’ve just been following the wheels, and so far so good.

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