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Sagan just hopes to survive stage 19 after 'painful ride'

28 July 2018

"I've got a little baby girl on the way in the next few days so hopefully I make it home in time for that!"

"I was braking but it wasn't enough".

"After I flew through the forest and I hit a big rock with my ass".

The world champion sealed a record-equalling sixth green jersey on Tuesday, but he was literally brought back down to earth during a brutal 65-kilometre ride from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan.

Otherwise, it was a very calm stage except for a minor crash involving Stage 17 victor Nairo Quintana and British rider Adam Yates midway through the route.

He said: "I crashed in a turn - in the corner I made a mistake. I was sprinting full gas, and still couldn't catch him".

One fan who reached over the barriers almost took Thomas down Wednesday.

In the end, Groupama's FDJ's Demare was able to hold off Christophe Laporte of Cofidis and Alexander Kristoff of UAE Team Emirates to claim his second career Tour win and first this year.

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On a warm day in southern France, Stage 18 took riders through the vineyards of Madiran to the city of Pau, the birthplace of 16th-century king Henri IV.

X-rays found no fractures however, with Bora-Hansgrohe reporting Sagan suffered heavy abrasions and some bruises on his right side. "It could be worse". Behind them, Mikel Landa and Romain Bardet, who started the day seventh and eighth overall respectively, had broke away from Thomas and were closing the gap in pursuit. "It is not normal, it is the Tour, but we are used to defending the jersey, and that helps, I guess".

"It's not just about having good legs".

Geraint Thomas is sitting pretty at the top of the Tour de France's general classification standings and relishing the prospect of using Chris Froome to his advantage.

Cycling - Tour de France - The 200.5-km Stage 19 from Lourdes to Laruns - July 27, 2018 - Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas of Britain celebrates on the podium, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey.

"Froomey said on the radio at maybe 5k or 4k to go, that he wasn't feeling super", Welshman Thomas said. But I take confidence with how I have been riding and best recover.

For Thomas, becoming the first Welsh Tour victor was a likely prospect after the race farewelled the Pyrenees with him extending his overall lead to two minutes and five seconds over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).

"We are coming to race our bikes, that's all we want to do". Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +0.19 3.

Sagan just hopes to survive stage 19 after 'painful ride'