'Over-heating' And 'Weak': Thomas' Tour Defense Wobbles In Pyrenees

Defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas put a brave face on his mountain-top wobble Saturday after slipping over two minutes behind overall leader Julian Alaphilippe, but refused to give up on his title bid.

The Welshman's Tour defence preparations were hit by a nasty fall in June's Tour de Suisse, but with a powerful team around him he came into the race as hot favourite.

French outsider Alaphilippe, however, has rocked the race with a series of swashbuckling attacks that have put him and not Thomas in the overall lead.

"There are a lot of strong guys. Everyone within four minutes is still dangerous," insisted Thomas.

Worries about a serious threat from the upstart only really emerged after Thomas came second to Alaphilippe in Friday's time-trial, a discipline at which the Briton usually excels.

"I was overheating a bit," said Thomas, who looked uncomfortable in the baking heat at Pau in the south-west of France.

"It was that last bit that got me, in the last 8km I didn't have the power I wanted," he admitted.

Thomas had openly predicted Alaphilippe would crumble as the Tour took to the peaks, but on the first of a string of summits finishes, the opposite happened Saturday.

"I just didn't feel quite on it from the start really to be honest - just quite weak," Thomas told his team website.

"At the end I just knew I had to try to pace it," he said after finishing 29 sec adrift of Alaphilippe, who came second six seconds behind his compatriot Thibaut Pinot.

"I didn't really attempt to follow when they kicked," he said of allowing a clique of five riders to get away from him at the end of a 17km climb.

"I thought it was better just to try to ride my own pace and limit my losses that way, rather than stay with them and blow up on the steepest bit at the end."

His analysis could prove well-founded with an even harder Pyrenean mountain stage coming up on Sunday ahead of the rest day.

"It was a tough day out there. There's still a lot more to come and hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow," said the affable 2018 winner who proved a very popular champion even in France.

Thomas is racing in his 10th Tour de France and is backed up by Team Ineos principal Dave Brailsford, mastermind of six Tour de France wins in the past seven editions.

Thomas feels the whole overall standings will be shaken up more than once with three tough Alpine stages still to be raced next week.

"If you worry about one rider too much, you forget about the rest and you end up losing," Thomas told French television.

South America Could Sweep Grand Tours With Vuelta Win

A swathe of absentees leaves the door open for a first-time winner and a South American clean sweep of Grand Tour victories this season as the Vuelta a Espana begins on Saturday.

Report: Doping Threatens Colombia's Cycling Talent Production Line

Colombian cycling reached its zenith last month when pint-sized climber Egan Bernal became his country's first winner of the sport's greatest race, the Tour de France.

FloBikes To Broadcast Vuelta a España And World Championships In Canada

Join Pro now to watch the 2019 Vuelta a España live and on-demand.

Carapaz In Doubt For Vuelta Following Training Crash

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz, winner of this year's Giro d'Italia, has injured his shoulder and could miss the start of the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday.

Jakob Fuglsang To Ride 2019 Vuelta, Re-signs With Astana

Danish veteran Jakob Fuglsang penned a new two-year deal with Astana on Wednesday in a timely boost ahead of the Vuelta a Espana which gets underway this weekend.

The Best Climbers At The Vuelta a España

The Vuelta a España is known as the grand tour for pure climbers. This year’s Vuelta lives up to that reputation and then some. With 57 categorized climbs and eight summit finishes in the 2019 Vuelta, there will be no shortage of battles amongst the peloton’s top climbers throughout the three weeks of racing. 

The Top Sprinters At The 2019 Vuelta a España


The Vuelta a España is known as a race for the pure climbers, however the 2019 edition has included many opportunities for sprinting talent. There are six flat days for the sprinters in this year’s Vuelta, three of which come in the final week. 

Five Unheralded Riders That Could Win La Vuelta

Vuelta Favorites And Underdogs

The Vuelta a España is in many ways the proving ground for riders in the peloton in need of grand tour experience. The courses are as challenging (if not more so) than the other two grand tours, but with many of the marquee GC riders recovering after the Tour de France, the Vuelta stands as an opportunity for hidden talent.

Five Big Favorites For The 2019 Vuelta a España

Vuelta Favorites And Underdogs

For some, the Vuelta a España is a chance for redemption at the end of a trying season. For others, the Vuelta stands as an opportunity to make a first mark on grand tour racing. In 2019 the Vuelta has a line up of bonafide grand tour stars who have something yet to prove this year. 

Roubaix Winner Gilbert To Return To Lotto-Soudal

Philippe Gilbert, the 2012 road-race world champion, will return to Lotto Soudal next season at the age of 38 on a three-year contract, the team announced on Monday.