Thomas, who has never previously been in a position to win a grand tour, is keeping his feet on the ground.
In his own words, Philippe Gilbert “had a lucky escape” following his crash at the Tour de France on Tuesday.
The police source confirmed the race was stopped because the organizers wanted the gas to disperse to avoid any other riders being affected.
With Thomas increasing his overall lead, the Colombian Egan Bernal finally showing the climbing aptitude that made his selection inevitable and Froome faltering, Team Sky’s principal acknowledged that possibility.
Dan Martin finished second on the brutal stage 17 of the Tour de France behind victor Nairo Quintana, but Geraint Thomas kept a firm grip of the leader’s yellow jersey. He had been 57.2 kilometres from the finish and in the lead of the 218km-long stage at the time of the crash.
Officers detain a protester as Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas, right, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, rides past. He looks pretty strong and I imagine he’ll be able to finish it off. Dutchman Tom Dumoulin occupies third, 11 seconds off Froome.
Roglic put in another attack that put Froome in trouble, and a subsequent surge from Dumoulin left Froome behind with Egan Bernal left to pace his leader for the remainder of the climb.
With 2.5 km to go, Roglic attacked for the second time but was quickly shut down by Thomas.
Froome is attempting to match the Tour record of five victories shared by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
“As soon as you get carried away, it’s when it goes downhill”, the two-time Olympic track champion said.
Tuesday’s protest was the latest incident in what has been an eventful Tour de France, as fans have expressed outrage about Froome’s participation.
“For us climbers it’s a terrain we know well and we’re sure that we can ride well in”, explained Movistar rider and climbing extraordinaire Nairo Quintana ahead of the race. Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Sky’s principal, had caused a stink on Monday by suggesting the spitting, booing and physical intimidation to which his riders have been subjected was a phenomenon particular to “French culture”.
There were attacks from the start of an intense two and-a-half hours racing in the Pyrenees in the South of France and it was Columbian climber Quintana who crossed the finishing line first.