Thomas plays down abuse claims after liquid thrown at Froome

Slovakia's Peter Sagan wearing the best sprinter's green jersey celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 169.5 kilometers with start in Bourg d'Oisans and

Basque climber Fraile, of the Astana team, attacked on the leg-sapping Cote de la Croix Neuve to reel in lone leader Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and hold French favourite Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) at bay.

Briton Geraint Thomas keeps the yellow jersey after finishing ahead of his main rivals. At every available opening since that initial gain of 51sec, the Welshman added a few seconds: five at Mûr-de-Bretagne, 20 on the second Alpine stage to La Rosière, five at l'Alpe d'Huez.

Froome was slapped by at least one fan and appeared to be spat at by another, before Vincenzo Nibali crashed after touching a spectator, fracturing a vertebrae to put him out of the race.

When is the next stage of the Tour de France? They apologised and assured us that safety will be improved in future. We've suffered huge damage as a team. "It's not acceptable. That's why our lawyers are studying the possibility of legal action", Copeland told Cyclingnews.

Alaphilippe Stuyven and Thomas featured in an early breakaway that built a lead over the main pack of nearly 20 minutes in the 14th stage, although none of the 32 escapees were a threat in the general classification.

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"I can only renew my appeals for calm, for common sense, with regards to the riders who make up the Tour de France". I don't know. We just train hard, work hard and come here to try to win the race.

Overall, Thomas leads Froome by one minute 39 seconds and Dumoulin by 1:50.

As Thomas and Froome raced to the finish line in Mende, 18 minutes behind Spanish stage victor Omar Fraile, insults - and liquid from a bottle or cup - were thrown in Froome's direction.

"It's hard but they also are riding for their win", Dumoulin said of Thomas and Froome.

The situation is unusual: an established champion, Chris Froome, with a - faint - question mark over his strength, trailing behind a teammate, Thomas, who pledged to show loyalty, but is in the form of his life and clearly contemplating a career-defining victory. Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), fourth overall, attacked the group of favorites and once Dumoulin began to move, Froome and Thomas each had a go.

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