Geraint Thomas expects a tough two days in the saddle as he continues the defence of his Tour de France crown.
The Cardiff-born rider stayed fifth after Friday’s stage seven – at 230km the longest this year.
But as the race heads towards the Massif Central, Thomas knows it is about to get tougher despite showing his form on stage six when he finished ahead of his main rivals.
“It was a long day but I guess it’s better than 230km in full-on cross-winds,” said Thomas after finishing safely in the pack at Chalon-sur-Saone.
“I don’t think Saturday will affect the GC but it will certainly be a tough day. For sure everyone thinks it’s a breakaway day so there will be a big fight for that.
“It will probably still be going by the time we hit the first climb. It’s going to be a hard start for sure.
“It may settle down and the break might go then. It depends on numbers. I think the next two days will certainly be tough.”
Thomas moved up two places on Thursday after his impressive ride on the brutal finish at La Plance des Belles Filles.
“I didn’t really know what to expect going in there but I felt good,” added Thomas who remains 49 seconds behind Giulio Ciccone of Trek-Segafredo in the General Classification.
Dylan Groenewegen won Friday’s stage.
Stage seven result
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) 6:02:44
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) s.t.
3. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida)
5. Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates)
24. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) s.t.
25. Geraint Thomas (Team INEOS)
1. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 29:17:39
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +6”
3. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) +32”
4. George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) 47”
5. Geraint Thomas (Team INEOS) +49”
6. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) +53”
138th Luke Rowe +52:31