ST ETIENNE – Defending champion Geraint Thomas crashed on the Tour de France on Saturday, losing time to Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, but took heart from a strong recovery.
“It’s annoying and frustrating but, at the same time, to come back like I did shows the legs are good," the Welshman said.
The Ineos rider took a tumble on a right-hand bend some 15 kilometres from the finish of the 200-km eighth stage from Macon but remounted and made it back into the bunch before the top of the Col de la Jaillere, the last climb of the day with 12.5 kilometres left.
Shortly after Thomas rejoined the peloton, Julian Alaphilippe attacked to take bonus seconds at the top. He was followed by Pinot and the duo never looked back.
Alaphilippe reclaimed the overall leader's yellow jersey and Pinot leapfrogged Thomas in the general classification after gaining 28 seconds on the 2018 winner.