Gallopin had been distanced near the top of the climb but clawed his way back up to Thomas and Sky teammate Sergio Henao as they looked to shut the gap to Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Richie Porte (BMC).
Gallopin’s teammate – and eventual stage winner – Tim Wellens was at the head of the race with Contador and Porte, but with another chasing group of overall contenders still between them on the road, the Frenchman was willing to help Thomas in his pursuit, citing his friendship with the Welshman.
“I knew Tim was still off the front with Contador and Porte, so the goal was to get back on [to the chase group] with Geraint,” Gallopin said in an appearance Eurosport’s ‘Rois de la Pédale’ post-race show immediately after the finish.
“On top of that, Geraint is someone I like. We get on well, we talk about rugby. We send each other messages when France are playing Wales in rugby, so I preferred for him to win the general classification, though I still don’t know what the result was.”
Thomas saved the overall victory by 4 seconds from Contador after catching the first chase group on the approach to Nice. For his part, Gallopin led that group home on the stage, winning the sprint for fourth place, just 5 seconds down on his teammate Wellens.
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