Wales' Geraint Thomas showed strong determination in Stage 4 of the Tour de France, where Team Sky put in one of their best team time trial performances finishing third overall as Chris Froome moves up the general classification.
The men in black and blue powered into the 25-kilometre course in Nice to clock a time of 25 minutes and 59 seconds as Chris Froome put time into all his general classification rivals. Riding as a unit, the team crossed the line with eight of the nine riders all together, with a heroic Geraint Thomas arriving in moments later after pulling off just before the flamme rouge.
The Welshman rode through the pain barrier for a third day in succession on a strong day for the team, who finished just three seconds back on the day’s winners Orica-GreenEDGE. The Australian outfit clocked a 25:56 to beat the benchmark time of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step by less than a second. The result ensured Edvald Boasson Hagen, Froome and Richie Porte now occupy sixth, seventh and eighth overall, just three seconds back on new race leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE).
Thomas rode a smart stage and admitted to feeling better on the bike, despite enduring a small fracture to his pelvis - digging deep to support his team-mates. "I definitely felt better when I woke up this morning and my race was to the promenade after 1km," he said. "When I made it there with the team I was buzzing off that and managed to give what I had.
"I was shouting at my team-mates at the end, we had to give it everything and we went full gas. We were all encouraging each other and we can be proud of our ride, especially with mine and Ian’s [Stannard] injuries after that crash on the opening day. To gain a bit of time on the other GC teams is a nice bonus.
"It would have been nice to have been 100% fit for today because it was the type of course I really like, but that’s sport, and that’s life. I gave it everything, and like I said, we can be proud of ourselves today."
Thomas also heaped praise on his team-mates who drove the team into a strong overall position after four days of action. He added: "The strong guys in the team like Eddie, Froomey – the onus was on them to really drive the team forward and then everyone else did their bit. I rode the Olympics with Pete last year and obviously he’s got the power, and everyone knows how to ride a TTT in this team. It was really good, really smooth, and I think we got the best out of everyone.
"Being three seconds behind the lead is perfect. Obviously we would like to have won, and stood on that podium, but it means we don’t have to ride on the front and this should give me two days now to shelter from the wind and focus on my recovery. I feel 10 times better now than I did after the second stage and yesterday, so if I can keep improving, then that’ll be great news."
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