Ready to sacrifice title for Thomas: Froome

Ready to sacrifice title for Thomas: Froome

Team Sky with Britain's Chris Froome, left, and Britain's Geraint Thomas, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, passes a banner reading "Ventoline, Special Discount for Team Sky" referring to Froome doping's allegations during the fourteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 188 kilometers (116.8 miles) with start in Saint-Paul Trois-Chateaux and Mende, France, Saturday July 21, 2018.

Four-time champion Froome can pull level with the likes of former five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain if he triumphs on the Champs Elysees next Sunday.

They crossed the line more than 13 minutes later, with Thomas in the front group along with team-mate Chris Froome, Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin, and Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo to ensure the standings did not change.

"We're good mates", Thomas said.

"As long as there's a Team Sky rider on the top step in Paris, I'm happy", Froome said.

The second telling statement came when Froome was asked if he would be willing to sacrifice his own ambition of landing a fifth Tour de France if it meant Thomas winning.

Thomas, Froome, and the rest of the overall contenders slowly rolled across the finish line at Carcassonne and its medieval city walls 13 minutes after stage victor Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark.

His expulsion leaves Sky with seven riders.

“I always kept a little back so I was able to respond if they attack, ” said the 25-year-old Cort Nielsen, who gave Astana back-to-back wins the day after teammate Omar Fraile claimed Stage 14.

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Brailsford added he did not think the abuse directed at Team Sky would stop during the remainder of the race.

But he added: "It's not acceptable for a rider to do that".

And Thomas said: "It's the last mountaintop (finish) that will be most decisive". The Dutchman, victor of the Giro in 2017 and second to Froome in this year's race, has spoken openly of trying to take advantage of Sky's situation, knowing the leading pair are not keen to attack one another.

"Endurance is a big part of cycling but if we're able to mix the strain of longer stages with shorter legs that allow space for more attacks, a good mix could be the victor". "It's for all the other riders in the peloton to make up time on us and dislodge us from the position we're in".

"I don't know how people are going to react, but it's not going to calm people down", Brailsford said. "At the end of the day it's up to them to decide".

"If you don't want them to come then maybe race only with French teams, that might work".

"For me this is the highlight of my career, it's a massive honour and priviledge to be wearing the jersey and have such an incredible race so far", he said.

Thomas, who spent several years racing alongside Froome in their former team Barloworld, said, for now, the team is united. "We're a rider down but all the boys are riding together now".

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