Briton rider eliminated from Tour de France

Col du Pre pass during the 11th stage of the Tour de France as British rider Geraint Thomas claims the yellow jersey

Geraint Thomas insists he will help Sky teammate Chris Froome claim a record-equalling fifth victory on the Tour de France despite underlining his own credentials by pulling on the fabled yellow jersey on Wednesday.

But his team's unpopularity spilled over as he and in particular reigning champion Froome were targeted by spectators, with one appearing to throw a punch at Froome.

Thomas now looks every inch a potential Tour victor, yet he still maintains Froome is Team Sky's designated leader and that he has not targeted final victory.

In the end, Van Avermaet produced a fantastic performance to finish 1min 43secs behind Alaphilippe, Thomas, Froome and Team Sky trailing over the finish over three minutes behind the stage victor. But just let us race.

Former champion Vincenzo Nibali crashed with about 4km left and ended seventh, 13 seconds off the pace.

"Obviously Froomey is the leader".

"There were two police motorbikes and the road became narrow, there were no barriers and Froome attacked, traffic slowed down and I fell".

"Don't affect the race, don't touch the riders, don't spit at us. But we have to bear in mind that if it impacts on the race, as it did with Nibali today, then that's too much".

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The 158.5 km stage from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornard featured three category one climbs, including two in the final 30 km.

With bonus seconds, Thomas extends his lead in yellow over Froome by 14 seconds to one minute and 39 seconds, with Dumoulin a further 11 seconds back.

Otherwise, the team's inexorable quality was on full display, from the chase-down of a 40-mile solo breakaway by the Netherlands' Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) to the astonishingly poised work done on Alpe d'Huez by 21-year-old Colombian Egan Bernal, who paced Thomas and Froome and covered would-be attackers.

After two hard stages through the Alps, it is a fitting way to cap the ride through the first set of high mountains in the 2018 Tour.

Thomas increased his gap over his fellow Brit on general classification to 1min 39sec, with Dumoulin still third chipping a few seconds off Froome.

While all this was happening, behind the peloton a number of big names were climbing off - including sprinters Andre Greipel, Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen. Froome, who won the Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, was cleared of a doping offense just before the start of the race after he tested positive for excessive levels of an anti-asthmatic drug during last year's Vuelta.

"I knew there was a good chance (of going into yellow) but I didn't know how everyone else was going to ride".

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