Geraint Thomas insists he is not thinking about winning the Tour de France despite another emphatic performance on the final summit finish of the race.
The Cardiff-born rider took a massive step towards producing one of – if not the finest achievement by a Welsh athlete.
Thomas crossed the line in third place after a short but brutal 65-kilometre stage 17 test in the Pyrenees.
He now leads the race by one minute and 59 seconds with four days to go as Team Sky team-mate and defending four-time champ Chris Froome lost more time.
But asked if he was thinking about wearing the coveted Yellow Jersey into Paris on Sunday, Thomas insisted: “I don’t even let myself think about it.
“I just keep doing what I’m doing, so just recover as best I can, get to the hotel and think about tomorrow.
“I just take it day by day, as soon as you start thinking too far ahead, bad stuff happens.
“We’re riding so well as a team, that’s the reason I’m in this jersey.”
Thomas – again backed by fellow Cardiff-born rider Luke Rowe – picked up four bonus seconds after seeing off his main rivals as they slugged it out on the Col du Portet.
The Monaco-based rider accelerated away from Holland’s Tom Dumoulin who moved into second place overall.
Froome needed help to cut his losses as he dropped to third on the and is now two minutes 31 seconds back on his team-mate.
Colombia’s Nairo Quintana won the stage after launching an attack with Ireland’s Dan Martin 28 seconds behind in second.
Thomas crossed the line another 19 seconds down after powering away from Primoz Roglic and Dumoulin in the closing metres.
He added: “I was feeling really good and it was all about just defending that lead.
“I gained a few seconds on Dumoulin and Roglic – so a good day, I’m very happy.
“At the bottom of the climb obviously Quintana and Dan Martin went really early and then when Roglic went we forced Dumoulin to ride.
“It was a solid place already but fortunately when it did come back together we had numbers. The boys were just incredible again, everyone was really riding out of their skin.
Stage 17 result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 2:21:27
2. Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates) +28”
3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +47”
4. Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) +52”
5. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) s.t.
8. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 1’35”
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 70:34:11
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1’59”
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 2’31”
4. Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) +2’47”
5. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +3’30”
133. Luke Rowe (Team Sky) +3hrs 08’ 35”