The general classification contenders led by Team Sky finished the transition stage more than 18 minutes behind winner Omar Fraile (Astana) but the last climb in Mende allowed for humble comparison.
“We tried to attack each other a bit but we were all equally strong,” Dumoulin said post-race. "We were pretty evenly matched, just like when we were in the Alps. We’ll see where that goes in the next week."
Stage 14 of the Tour de France 2018 saw a fantastic win by Omar Fraile in Mende and Peter Sagan again amazed us.
The 27-year-old has emerged as the biggest threat to Team Sky two weeks into the Tour and currently sits third overall – one minute and 50 seconds in arrears of Thomas and 11 seconds off Froome.
Dumoulin is the reigning time trial world champion so surely won’t be intimidated by the 31 kilometre penultimate stage. However, asked yesterday where his race would be decided, the Team Sunweb leader was unequivocal.
“Pyrenees,” he during a cool-down outside the team bus.
Thomas could arguably have the freshest legs out of his immediate rivals, including teammate Froome, when the race hits the mountains again next week.
Froome and Dumoulin both competed at the Giro d’Italia in May, finishing first and second respectively. Neither has shown signs of obvious fatigue as yet but the feasibility of the double at least last season was virtually written off by popular opinion.
Thomas said he was more surprised by his own campaign, which has so far included two consecutive stage victories in the Alps, than the efforts of the duo working toward a double that has proved unattainable since 1998.
“Not with Froomey. I am a bit surprised with Dumoulin,” Thomas said. “I think he is just riding so well. I know he’s a good rider, but he’s been going well since Liege. Fair play to him.
“I’m more surprised by myself being up there. It’s all good.”