Team INEOS rider Geraint Thomas of Britain in the peloton. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
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Defending champion Geraint Thomas gained time on his rivals in a brutal finish in the sixth stage of the Tour de France as several top guns cracked in the lung-busting ascent to La Planche des Belles Filles Thursday.Thomas took full advantage of the terrain to produce brutal acceleration and take fourth place, 1:44 behind Teuns, who snatched his maiden stage win on a grand tour.Among the top contenders, Thomas is fifth, 49 seconds behind, and leads sixth-placed Bernal by four seconds and seventh-placed Pinot by nine.Twice champion Vincenzo Nibali, who was waiting for that stage to assess his form after finishing second overall in a demanding Giro d'Italia in May, lost 51 seconds to Thomas, whom he now trails by 1:07 overall.
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