Geraint Thomas claimed a magnificent victory to move into the yellow jersey on stage 11 at the Tour de France.
The Welshman launched a stinging late acceleration on the first-category La Rosiere climb, overhauling the final breakaway riders to claim a memorable victory, with Chris Froome finishing third, just 20 seconds back, to jump up to second place overall.
The pair were able to work together tactically in the final kilometres, with Thomas hauling back a dangerous move from Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), while in behind Froome was able to sit in before powering clear from an elite group of contenders.
Froome now sits one minute and 25 seconds behind Thomas, who begins a second stint in the maillot jaune following his winning start to the race in 2017.
Team Sky’s riders held firm in the face of great pressure on a short, sharp 108.5km test. Luke Rowe worked hard early, before Gianni Moscon, Wout Poels, Jonathan Castroviejo and Michal Kwiatkowski set a fierce tempo. With Kwiatkowski finishing his effort and Egan Bernal slipping back after a strong ride, Thomas picked his moment and launched a stinging acceleration.
“It’s unreal I didn’t expect it at all,” Thomas admitted after the stage.
“We were low on numbers so it was more instinct [to attack] so we didn’t get caught having to ride – I saw a little gap.
“I committed to going across to Dumoulin and I was able to sit on of course, as Froome was coming across and I could see Frosty [Mikel Nieve] and he’s a good mate, it’s a shame you know, but I had to go for the win.
“I knew there was a good chance [of going into yellow] but I didn’t know how everyone else was going to ride.
“Wearing the yellow jersey is a massive honour. I managed to do it last year and to do it two years in a row is really nice.
“We were expecting attacks and when they go, it’s never nice to see them going away but we had confidence in each other and rode really well.”