Published: Sun, July 29, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Geraint Thomas cruising to first Tour de France crown

Geraint Thomas cruising to first Tour de France crown

His closest rival at the start of the day, Tom Dumoulin, won the penultimate stage by one second from Chris Froome, but with Thomas only 14 seconds back the Welshman had more than enough in hand.

Thomas and Froome have been together since their days on the small Barloworld team a decade ago. "Just huge emotion. I was welling up every time I hugged someone for 20 minutes".

With a few drops of rain falling, Thomas was quick to regain control when his wheel appeared to lock up coming around a tricky, tight corner early in the route. Still, he was first at the two checkpoints before slowing in the final kilometres.

"I felt in the last 200m, "just go for the bonus seconds".

"Nico (sports director Nicolas Portal) told me to just relax, take it easy and just make sure I win the tour, and that's what I sort of did".

"I'm really trying not to cry. And that's what I did".

"Everyone that knows me knows that, can't do anything else about the negativity that is around the team so I am happy, I know we all do it the right way - we work so hard and just so happy to finish the job today".

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At the finish, Thomas let out a loud scream and held his arms out wide in celebration.

Victory for Thomas would give Sky the luxury of having two riders legitimately vying for the Tour title next year.

Barring catastrophe on Sunday, when the peloton rides from Houilles to Paris in festive spirit before the sprinters take over for a battle on the Champs Elysees, Thomas will win Team Sky's sixth yellow jersey from the last seven editions of the race. "By the sounds of it, it's gone pretty insane back home, so looking forward to going back to celebrate".

The two-time Olympic track champion but has spent the bulk of his road career in the role of selfless teammate. Whether its an overall contender or stage-winning opportunist, it is a day that will surely entertain to the end. "He was never put into trouble by anyone, in the mountains or anywhere - including by myself".

It was a tough 31km route in the French Basque Country between Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle and Espelette.

France's Julian Alaphilippe and world champion Peter Sagan, of Slovakia, both finished within the time cut and are set to claim the polka dot jersey for the mountain classification and the green jersey for the points classification, respectively. Hence Thomas may need to gain more time on him on Friday to secure a comfortable buffer going into Saturday's "race of truth" and ensure his ride to Paris on Sunday's finish is as the Tour victor. The Dutchman has won six TTs overall at the three Grand Tours - the Tour, the Giro d'Italia and the Spanish Vuelta.

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