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Defending champ Thomas opens up gap on Tour rivals

The Associated Press

Team Ineos strains during the second stage of the Tour de France, a team time trial over 27.6 kilometers with start and finish in Brussels on Sunday.

The Associated Press BRUSSELS (AP) — Just two days into the Tour de France, Geraint Thomas is already putting daylight between himself and some of the riders dreaming of dethroning the reigning champion.

Thomas, who claimed his first Tour win last summer, answered questions surrounding his form and fitness in a dominant fashion during Sunday’s short team time trial around the streets of Brussels.

His Ineos team did not win the stage but the 33-year-old Welshman gained precious seconds on rivals, including French duo Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot, former Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali, climber Nairo Quintana, Adam Yates and Jakob Fuglsang.

Thomas arrived at the Tour on the back of a rather mundane season and no victory to his name. Even worse, he crashed out of his final preparation race last month, and endured another setback, though minor, when he was caught in a pile-up near the finish of Saturday’s opening stage.

With the No. 1 bib on his back, Thomas, a former track specialist, showed no signs of weakness following his spill. He took solid turns at the front and led his teammates across the finish line close to the Atomium, the iconic Brussels monument built for the 1958 World Fair.

The only team riding faster than Ineos on Sunday was the Dutch outfit Jumbo-Visma, which covered the 27.6-kilometer course in 28 minutes, 58 seconds, keeping the yellow jersey on Mike Teunissen’s shoulders.Speech

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