GERAINT Thomas is just waiting to pounce as the Tour de France nears its final week.

Welshman Thomas, last year's Tour champion, currently lies in second spot ahead of a pivotal weekend of action in the Pyrenees.

Today (Saturday) will see stage 14 finishing on top of the Tourmalet, while tomorrow's stage will finish on the top of the category one Prat d'Albis.

Before yesterday's time trial in Pau, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe was in the Yellow Jersey, one minute and 12 seconds ahead of Geraint Thomas in second.

Rhyl Cycling Club's Jon Harland said: "Geraint is waiting to pounce, really.

"The split in the cross winds of stage 10 benefited him immensely, boosting him to second overall.

"It showed, too, that his team, including Welshman Luke Rowe, is alert and strong.

"Julian Alaphilippe is revelling in the glory of the Yellow Jersey in his home country and the French are loving it.

"But I expect him to be replaced by Thomas in the next few days."

Geraint Thomas and Team Ineos colleague Egan Bernal retained second and third positions overall as the team ticked off a relatively straightforward first day in the Pyrenees during Thursday's stage 14 from Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre.

With a large 40-man breakaway pushing clear to contest the stage win, the general classification battle took a back seat on Thursday, with a number of eyes on yesterday's time trial.

There were no significant attacks on a pair of first-category climbs, with Team Ineos arriving at the front on the latter, Hourquette d’Ancizan.

Luke Rowe and Dylan van Baarle set a sensible tempo, with the entire team on the front to lead the peloton into Bagneres-de-Bigorre.

The bunch arrived nine-and-a-half minutes behind stage winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), with the British rider winning a three-up sprint to claim victory on the day.

Thomas told the Team Ineos website: "We were expecting something to happen on the final climb - and with the gap being quite small to the break.

"We were bracing ourselves for something, but it never materialised.

"I think maybe everyone is mindful of what’s coming up over the next three days - three big days for the GC, so maybe everyone is waiting for that.

"Luke and Dylan were great. Luke rode the last climb on the front the whole way and both of them swapped off at the end - they’re both in great form.

"It’s a great team to have around us."