Van Avermaet keeps lead in mountains

Chris Froome 'optimistic' as Tour de France heads for the mountains

Geraint Thomas claimed the yellow jersey and the overall lead of the Tour de France with a stunning ride in the Alps to win stage 11 on Wednesday.

The new race leader has an advantage of 1 minute 25 seconds over Froome, who moves to second overall, with Dumoulin a further 19 seconds back in third place. For me now, whatever happens, it's been a successful Tour, it's been an wonderful feeling to win the stage and take the jersey, I'm super happy with that. Froomey still has our best chance now - there's still more than half the race to go.

"This is where it gets hard, as we hit first mountain stage", said the former Sky leader on Eurosport's The Bradley Wiggins Show.

"It is an ideal scenario at the moment", Thomas added.

With van Avermaet not a specialist climber, Thomas could potentially take yellow today when the Tour resumes with a huge 158.5km mountain stage from Annecy to Le Grand Bornand.

The Tour continues Thursday with stage 12 to Alpe d'Huez, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here).

"Then it will depend on the situation and what's going on in the race".

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Sky calmly rode at its own pace and slowly caught a series of breakaway riders before Thomas kicked into action with 6 kilometres remaining.

"For sure I'm not going to sit up and lose time, but I think we're in a great position".

Alaphilippe, 26, delivered his first career Tour stage win after moving off the front of the break at the summit of the Col de Romme, 28.5km from home.

It is the second consecutive year Renshaw has fallen foul of the time cut, having also been timed out last year on stage nine.

Alaphilippe now leads the King of the Mountain standings and will wear the polka dot jersey during Stage 11. "To do it two years in a row is really nice". THE Tour de France was hit by a risky prankster today - as a BMX rider jumped over the peloton.

The first overall contender to attack was Alejandro Valverde up the Col du Pre.

Several riders, including Gilbert, were dropped quickly into the climb.

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