Cycling: Fraile takes stage 14 as Thomas retains yellow

Sports Saturday 21/July/2018 21:14 PM
By: Times News Service
Cycling: Fraile takes stage 14 as Thomas retains yellow

MENDE, France: Spain's Omar Fraile powered to victory with a late burst in the last climb of the 14th stage of the Tour de France, a 188-km ride from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, on Saturday.
The Astana rider caught Belgian Jasper Stuyven near the top of the Cote de Croix Neuve, a 3-km ascent at an average gradient of 10.2 percent and did not look back as he crossed the line.
France's Julian Alaphilippe was the fastest in the climb but he made his move slightly too late and finished six seconds behind, just ahead of Stuyven.
Briton Geraint Thomas keeps the yellow jersey after finishing ahead of his principal rivals.
"Winning a Tour de France stage is the best for a professional rider," said Fraile, who already had a Giro d'Italia stage win to his name.
"When I attacked I was not sure I would be able to keep my advantage. I knew Alaphilippe was coming strong."
All three featured in an early breakaway that built a lead over the main pack of almost 20 minutes, although none of the 32 escapees were a threat in the general classification.
Welshman Geraint Thomas retained the overall leader's yellow jersey with a 1:39-lead over team mate and defending champion Chris Froome, with Dutchman Tom Dumoulin in third place, 1:50 off the pace.
Only Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who is fourth overall now, 2:38 behind Team Sky's Thomas, gained some time on the main contenders when he attacked in the final climb.
He crossed the line 18:01 behind Fraile, eight seconds behind Froome, Thomas and Dumoulin after the Dutchman also attacked in the climb.
The move hurt Frenchman Romain Bardet, who ended up 22 seconds off Fraile's pace. He is fifth overall, now 3:21 off the pace and faces a massive challenge in the approaching Pyrenees if he is to finish on the Tour podium for the third time.
Sunday's 15th stage is a 181.5-km hilly ride from Millau to Carcassonne ahead of the second rest day and three stages in the Pyrenees that could shake up the overall standings.