REMIS, France (Reuters) – Defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas put his time loss into perspective on Tuesday although he acknowledged he might regret being caught at the wrong end of a split in the third stage.
The Briton lost five seconds to Ineos team mate Egan Bernal and fellow contender Thibaut Pinot in the final uphill section in Epernay on Monday.
He now trails the Colombian in the overall standings and his advantage over France’s Pinot is down to seven seconds.
“It is what it is. No one wins the Tour in five-second sprint finishes but it would be better not to lose time,” Thomas told reporters before the start of the fourth stage, a 213.5km ride to Nancy.
“If I’m off the podium by four I might be a bit more disappointed.”
The general classification contenders will face their first major test on Thursday in the sixth stage, which ends with a brutal 7km ascent to the Planche des Belles Filles at an average gradient of 8.7%, near Pinot’s home town.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Ed Osmond)