Peter Sagan was left disappointed once again as Spaniard Ruben Plaza triumphed on stage 16 of the Tour de France to Gap on Monday.
Slovakian Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was among the day's main protagonists, but had to settle for second for a fifth time in this year's Tour - and a 16th time in all - as Plaza (Lampre-Merida) won on the 201-kilometres route from Bourg-de-Peage.
The main contenders rolled in 18 minutes 12 seconds behind as Chris Froome (Team Sky) maintained his lead of three minutes 10 seconds over nearest challenger Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
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But there were concerns for Team Sky, for whom Geraint Thomas was knocked off the road on the defence after being nudged accidentally by Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin).
Thomas, who began the day sixth overall, flipped over his handlebars near a telegraph pole, tumbling off the road, but recovered to finish 38 seconds behind the Froome group.
Reports off the bike, meanwhile, suggested Sir Dave Brailsford was considering releasing performance data to support his defence of Froome after the Team Sky principal was ambushed by the Tour's host broadcaster on Sunday.
Froome's performances have been closely scrutinised, particularly his win to La Pierre-Saint-Martin, and France 2 broadcast its own expert analysis after the 15th stage to say the 30-year-old had an "abnormally high" power profile.
Team Sky may choose to address the ongoing insinuations on Tuesday's rest day, insisting Froome is a clean athlete, but Brailsford has always stated it is not possible to prove a negative; that Froome is drug free.
Plus, any data released could invite more questions than answers for a media and public sceptical after years of drug-riddled performances at the Tour.
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