Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Sagan takes third win at Tour, Thomas keeps lead on Stage 13

Sagan takes third win at Tour, Thomas keeps lead on Stage 13

The 12st stage of the Tour de France is always one of the most special and Geraint Thomas's historic victory made Thursday's ride one to remember, however there were also a couple of unsavoury incidents.

Geraint Thomas, the stage victor, overall leader and Froome's Team Sky teammate, was booed both as he crossed the finish line and stood on the winner's podium, and now Tour director Christian Prudhomme has had just about enough.

Behind about 20 riders with a kilometre to go, Sagan charged to overtake runner-up Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Demare, who finished third, at the finish line.

Sagan's 11th career win at the world's biggest bike race came after he was the fastest to the line in bunch sprints on Stages 2 and 5.

"It's changed", he said.

After overzealous fans marred Thomas' win on Thursday atop the Alpe d'Huez, the otherwise complete calm of Friday's leg was briefly disturbed by a man on the roadside who tossed a smoke bomb into the centre of the peloton as it passed by with 16 kilometres left.

Frenchman Romain Bardet, one of the main title contenders who lies fifth overall and 3:07 off the pace, said the Tour was a popular party and should remain so.

Tom Dumoulin stayed third overall at 1:50 behind.

Thomas said he didn't see the smoke bomb which, besides spitting out yellow fumes, appeared to do no harm.

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Italian Vincenzo Nibali sustained a fractured vertebra when he crashed about four kilometers from the top of the 13.8-km climb after being hit by what appeared to be either a spectator or a police motorbike.

Attitudes toward Froome and his Team Sky soured recently when the four-time Tour champion was involved in an asthma drug case stemming from last year's Spanish Vuelta - even though he was cleared of wrongdoing just days before the Tour started.

The fans seemed to be directing most of their ire-filled over-enthusiasm toward Froome, the four-time Tour victor from Team Sky who was cleared of doping accusations days before the Tour began earlier this month.

The rider was able to attack on the early slopes of Alpe d'Huez, but was caught up in a crash around 4km from the summit.

However, four-time Tour victor Froome said he felt more could be done.

But Thomas, who has a real chance of upstaging Froome to win the yellow jersey if the Kenyan-born champion fails to step up in the crucial third week, said the doubters are wrong.

"I 100-percent believe in myself and the team, that we do everything in the right way, along with the majority of the peloton as well", said Thomas. "Same for Froomey. The most important thing is the group is strong and we have the best position".

And Froome seems eager for the action to return. "But suddenly, we've seen a lot more", Froome told reporters, via AFP.

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