The crosswind chaos of Monday’s stage 10 saw Thomas power his way into second place on the general classification behind Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, with the Welshman’s young team-mate Egan Bernal just four seconds behind in third.
After a number of rivals – most notably Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot – shipped 100 seconds on the stage to Albi, Thomas and Bernal became the best-placed of the main contenders to be wearing yellow in Paris.
“With myself and Egan second and third, it’s been a great 10 days,” the defending champion said. “Obviously it would be better if we were a couple of seconds behind Alaphilippe rather than a minute, but other than that it’s great.”
It is not a dissimilar situation to the first rest day of last year, when Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet held yellow with a 43-second cushion over Thomas.
Van Avermaet was never expected to hold yellow for long in the mountains, duly handing it over when Thomas won stage 11 to La Rosiere, and many predict Alaphilippe will do something similar when the race hits the Pyrenees at the weekend.
“I won’t say we were happy, but we didn’t mind him gaining a few seconds after the first week,” Thomas said of the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider. “There’s some big days in the mountains now and the time trial. By the second rest day we’ll know a lot more. If he’s increased his lead it will be more of a concern, but we’ll see how it goes.”