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Thomas laughs off talk of yellow jersey return.

Byline: andy howell Cycling andy.howell@walesonline.co.uk

GERAINT Thomas was at his mischievous best when asked if he'd like another stint in the leader's yellow jersey at the Tour de France.

Wales' twice Olympic track gold medallist and Commonwealth Games king of the road relinquished it to his Team Sky leader and defending Tour champion Chris Froome during the first mountain top finish.

Thomas reverted to domestique duties during Thursday's 216km stage six between Vesoul and Troyes, which was almost pancake flat and a day for the sprinters.

Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) came from behind to pass his German rival Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) to bag his second stage of the race.

Demare, who was wearing the green points jersey, had won the controversial sprint two days ago that saw Briton Mark Cavendish fracture a collarbone after being elbowed into the barriers and world champion Peter Sagan disqualified from the race for allegedly causing the horrific crash.

French champion Demare dived through a narrow gap near the safety barriers to pip Greipel for second but Kittel had too much speed for the pair of them as he joined the latter on 11 stage victories at the Tour.

Thomas finished safely in the bunch to stay second in the general classification 12 seconds behind Froome with Italian champion Fabio Aru (Astana) a further two astern.

Thirty-one-year-old Thomas spent three days in yellow after becoming the first Welsh rider to win a stage and lead cycling's most important Grand Tour.

"It was was amazing few days, something I will always remember," grinned the Maindy Flyers and Cardiff Ajax product.

"Just winning the prologue time trial was massive and to wear the yellow jersey was a dream. Who knows, maybe I can attack 'Froomey' and get it back!" quipped renowned joker Thomas.

As for the day, Froome was happy to take it easy, even as temperatures approached 38 degrees along the road, saying: "These stages don't come along very often. "This was definitely one of the most relaxed days I've ever done on the Tour de France.

"I've always dealt with the heat I'd say better than most people. It's the cold I normally have a problem with." Stage six result: 216km, Vesoul to Troyes: 1, Marcel Kittel (Germany Quick-Step Floors, 5hr 5min 34sec; 2, Arnaud Demare (France) FDJ, same time; 3, Andre Greipel (Germany) Lotto Soudal, same time.

General classification: 1, Chris | Peter Sagan's appeal against his disqualification from the Tour de France has been dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

World champion Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team called for his reinstatement two days after he left the race.

But CAS ruled the decision taken on Tuesday evening, after Sagan was sent home accused of causing the stage four crash which saw Mark Cavendish suffer a broken shoulder blade, should stand.

Sagan had initially been docked 30 seconds before the race jury reviewed the footage and upgraded his punishment, ending his bid to win the Tour's points classification for a recordequalling sixth straight year.

Froome (GBR) Team Sky, 23hr 44min 32sec; 2, Geraint Thomas (Wales) Team Sky, at 12sec; 3, Fabio Aru (Italy) Astana, at 14sec.

CAPTION(S):

It was back to domestique duties for Geraint Thomas yesterday as he shadowed Team Sky team leader Chris Froome
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 7, 2017
Words:553
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