Thomas sits second to Greg Van Avermaet in the general classification after nine stages, 43 seconds off yellow but 59 seconds ahead of Froome as the race heads towards the Alps.
It could be his Sky team mate Geraint Thomas, who is the best-placed of the GC (general classification) riders after safely going through the first nine stages, including the much-feared cobbles-peppered route on Sunday, which was fatal to Porte's hopes.
"I don't think we quite expected that going into today's stage".
In 2013, French freeride mountain biker Romain Marandet jumped over a group including eventual victor Chris Froome of Team Sky during the 100th edition of the race.
The 158.5 km stage from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornard featured three category one climbs, including two in the final 30 km.
"One of them may crash one day so they will not want to give up their option, they will want to race first as second as long as they can".
"It is an ideal scenario at the moment", Thomas added.
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"We're still here to try and win the race, whatever way that is".
"I knew there was a good chance. To get a victory at the Tour de France was a dream for me", Alaphillipe said. Though the sight of Team Sky massed on the front of the peloton most of the day was not unexpected, the way in which he attacked with yellow on the line certainly was.
But Van Avermaet, who predicted he would lose the yellow jersey before stages Tuesday and Wednesday, cracked on the second of three major climbs Wednesday.
But Thomas and Sky have played that down.
Last year, he led the Tour for four days, but while sitting second overall he crashed in stage 9 and abandoned. I managed to do it last year but to do it two years on the trot is really nice'. Dumoulin then escaped from the peloton with a downhill attack from Cormet de Roselend and joined up with Valverde on the final climb.