Tour delight for Trentin as title contenders prepare for Alps battle

Geraint Thomas expects a battle in the Alps:

Geraint Thomas expects a battle in the Alps: "Teams will try and make it hard all day"

Rowe turned up at the team bus in Embrun prior to Thursday's stage 18 to Valloire in the slight hope that commissaires may overturn their decision to throw both Rowe and Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin off the race following an altercation between the pair during Wednesday's stage 17.

Twelve months ago, what was Team Sky saw Gianni Moscon kicked off the Tour for punching rival rider Elie Gesbert on stage 15, but it did little to dent their dominance of the race.

Join the team in Gap for reaction, interviews, analysis and a bit of light speculation.

Rowe said it was nothing more than a battle for position and said he had shaken hands with the German before the stage finished.

"I'm ready for the Alps", added the 27-year-old former soldier. "So yeah, it'll be an interesting big three days".

Thomas and Kruijswijk, who are second and third overall, were handed a blow Wednesday, losing one teammate each on disciplinary grounds.

Trentin crested the Col de la Sentinelle with a 25-second advantage over Deceuninck-Quick Step's Kasper Asgreen and was able to extend that lead on the long descent into town to win by 36 seconds, more than 20 minutes ahead of the main pack.

"It's not ideal but you've just got to deal with it now and move on, and take the day as it comes", Thomas said. He knows how to win a three-week race, and despite the minor crash he suffered on Tuesday, his morale is high.

On paper, Stages 19 and 20 look even more hard, with the Iseran mountain and two consecutive summit finishes.

Thomas began the 2018 Tour riding shotgun to teammate and four-time victor Chris Froome.

"I think every day is going to be important".

For Trentin and other already exhausted riders with no ambition in the general classification, the last stage that really mattered is now behind them. And the Italian rider made the most of it to post a third career stage win at the Tour.

European champion Trentin was part of a 33-man group - also including Ireland's Nicolas Roche of Team Sunbweb - which went up the road early in the 200km stage from Pont du Gard.

"Everybody is exhausted, it was the final day for saving strength, " Alaphilippe said. He was first at the summit and went all out in the downhill leading to Gap.

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