ThomasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fellow Briton Mark Cavendish confirmed his return to top form with a second stage win in two days as the Tour reached Gueugnon.
Cavendish easily out-sprinted Tyler Farrar of Garmin Transitions and LampreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Alessandro Petacchi to keep himself in contention for the overall green jersey victory.
But with Cancellara likely to surrender the lead in the mountains, all eyes will be on Team SkyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attempts to snatch the yellow jersey in their debut Tour.
SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stage is a less demanding climb which could see Saxo BankÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cancellara hold out, but should he fall off the pace, Thomas is just 20 seconds behind in second place.
The Welshman, who keeps the white jersey for the best young rider, took advantage of a slight break between the sprinters and the pack at the finish, picking up three vital seconds.
And though the 24-year-old has reiterated his allegiance to team leader Bradley Wiggins, Sky will have half an eye on claiming a first yellow jersey in Station des Rousses tomorrow.
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