The pause was brief. The riders loaded on rice cakes, which had been wrapped in foil, and murmured encouragement to one another. Geraint Thomas tried to lift the mood with a whispered joke, Wout Poels smiled wanly in response. Chris Froome was already yards away, pale eyes scanning the peak above, before glancing down to the thick layer of cloud, far below. “Come on, guys,” he said. “Let’s get back out there. Every second counts.”


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