Sky chief slams Tour critics, calls race's billing into doubt

Magnus Cort Nielsen

It was Magnus Cort Nielsen's third Grand Tour win. Image Twitter

"The jury kicked him out because he hit a rider from the (French) Fortuneo-Samsic team", a senior official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

"If you don't want worldwide teams to come, you can have a Tour de France for French teams".

Racing in the tight confines of Alpe d'Huez during the Tour De France is hard enough, but one biking "fan" (I use that term loosely) chose to make it even more challenging for racer Chris Froome.

It might prove tough for Thomas to sacrifice himself in the service of Froome from this position, but the 32-year-old said he would follow team orders.

'We will address this incident with Gianni once the Tour is complete and decide then if any further action should be taken.

The Italian lashed out at French rider Élie Gesbert of Team Fortuneo while both were competing during Stage 15 from Millau to Carcassonne. Moscon had been a key figure in Sky's successful start to the tour. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 62:49.47 2.

It gave Thomas the win after he was second on an nearly identical stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in June, en route to overall victory in the race.

After impressive back-to-back wins in two gruelling alpine stages, Thomas is on the form of his life - leading to calls for Sky to give the Welshman their full backing.

Sprinters Fernando Gaviria of Colombia and Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands, winners of two stages each, abandoned the race during the stage ending atop the iconic Alpe d'Huez, exhausted after an opening block of racing in extreme heat. Then come the Pyrenees and a possibly decisive individual time trial in the penultimate stage before the traditional finish in Paris next weekend.

Bardet crossed 14 seconds behind Thomas, Froome, and Dumoulin and his gap behind the yellow jersey holder fell to 3 minutes, 21 seconds, in fifth place overall. Tom Dumoulin is next in line, 11 seconds further back, while fourth-placed Primoz Roglic clawed a few seconds back on the front three with a late sprint.

Froome and Team Sky were booed on the podium at the start of the Tour in the Vendee.

Froome was attacking and I was following him.

Thomas, while not saying he would race against Froome, has made it clear that he is not going to relinquish his shot of winning a first Grand Tour.

"(Appealing for calm) is a step in the right direction but I think there are more measures that can be taken, for sure". "I don't even know what happened myself".

Cort Nielsen, Izagirre and Mollema dropped the five other remaining escapees before disputing the stage win among themselves. "I played my card, went all in and lost", said a rueful Stuyven on the finish line.

The only sustained attack against Thomas came from Daniel Martin, who is 10th at nearly seven minutes behind. "We've had a bit of that but it's always been water from what I've seen".

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