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“It was disappointing we lost three guys to punctures with Swifty, Puccio and Lopez. They all punctured at the same time with about 9km to go. I was hoping they’d come back but they never did."

Photo: Sirotti






06.02.2015 @ 18:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Geraint Thomas dug deep to finish in ninth place on stage three at the Dubai Tour as punctures hampered Team Sky's tactics.


The Welshman was active in the closing kilometres as the queen stage culminated in a gruelling climb up the side of the Hatta Dam.


Maxing out at a gradient of 17 percent the climb produced a grandstand finish as John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) powered away to win the stage and move into a slender race lead.


Thomas positioned himself at the head of the peloton heading under the flamme rouge but slipped back as the climb steepened, eventually finishing seven seconds back on the victorious German.


Movistar controlled the stage for much of the day and their riders rounded out the podium, with Alejandro Valverde and Juan Jose Lobato finishing second and third respectively.


Team Sky saw their attack blunted by a spate of punctures in the closing stages, with Ben Swift, David Lopez and Salvatore Puccio all pulling up after hitting a hole inside the final 10km.


Overnight leader Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) battled hard to finish in the front group and, despite losing the blue jersey, sits just four seconds off the lead heading into Saturday’s finale. Thomas is the best-placed Team Sky rider, 17 seconds back on GC.



After the stage Geraint Thomas talked through the final kilometres and an unlucky chain of events which left him and Ian Boswell as the only team members left in the group.


“It was disappointing we lost three guys to punctures with Swifty, Puccio and Lopez," he explained. "They all punctured at the same time with about 9km to go. I was hoping they’d come back but they never did. That was frustrating but after that I just had to go for it myself. I was in a good position but I just didn’t quite have that punch at the end. I was in the big ring which didn’t help. I went down into the small ring and lost a bit of speed but I didn’t quite have it.


“There’s one more day to go tomorrow and we’ll all get stuck in and hopefully finish on a high.


“The core of the team here has been in Mallorca together doing lead-outs and myself and Puccio have been dropped into that. It feels strange doing a lead-out again to be honest. The last few years I’ve mostly been on the climbs with Froomey and those guys but it’s been going pretty well.”



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