Sitting in the top 12 after five stages at the Tour de France is usually a cause for quiet optimism ahead of a long battle for yellow. But with Slovenian sensation Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) in the mix the usual rules no longer apply.
Ineos Grenadiers duo Richard Carapaz and Geraint Thomas are ninth and 12th in the overall picture after the first individual time trial, 1:44 and 1:55 back on yellow jersey Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).
But with Pogacar lurking just eight seconds back in the GC, and laying down a marker with a statement win on Stage 5, Ineos’ hopes of stealing yellow already look a distant hope.
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Eurosport experts Dan Lloyd and Dan Bigham sat down on The Breakaway sofa to mull over Ineos’ problems.
“I think Ineos will probably be scratching their heads a little bit,” said Bigham.

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“They’ve taken Tao [Geoghegan Hart] effectively out the race, he lost three or four minutes so he’s not going to be going for GC. They’re all in towards Thomas and Carapaz and they’ve lost a fair chunk of time.”
Lloyd added: “It’s not looking good for them [Ineos], however you look at it, to lose that amount of time.”

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Thomas has gamely battled on after dislocating his shoulder on Stage 3 and actually moved up six places from 18th in the standings on Wednesday’s time trial – although he shipped more than a minute to Pogacar.
“It’s not the end for Geraint Thomas,” continued Lloyd.
“But it’s another minute or so that he’s lost on a big rival and one that we know is capable of climbing in the mountains. It’s going to be really difficult for them and I think and it’s back to the drawing board.”
The Welshman admitted he “woke up this morning and felt terrible” but said he would “keep fighting” despite the odds being stacked against him.

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“I’ve dislocated my shoulder a few times before and it’s not a fun experience,” said Bigham. “And then trying to put one of your best time trials together a couple of days later is not going to be an easy task.
“The kind of course today, there were some pretty hard climbs and some technical sections, it’s going to stress your shoulders, it’s 30 minutes full gas.
“I think he’ll be content, but he’s not going to be over the moon. He is capable of being on the top step and mixing it with Pogacar, but you have to accept he’s not in the form he needs to be and he’s carrying a bit of an injury.
But it’s a three-week stage race, there’s plenty of opportunity yet.
Sandwiched between Carapaz and Thomas is Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), who also needs a big turnaround with a 1:48 deficit to Van der Poel.

'Does not look good' – Thomas dislocates shoulder in nasty crash on Stage 3

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