Tour De France 2018: Geraint Thomas Becomes First Welshman To Take The Title
on Jul 30, 2018 08:01 AM EDT
Thomas, who won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, displayed a sterling performance to outlast his opponents and claim his first ever title. He also became the first British-born winner of the sport, which pits the best cyclists in the world.
"With the boys, that's the main thing for the whole three weeks, we stuck together through some tough times, stayed strong. Everything just clicked this race," an ecstatic Thomas said during the post-race interview.
Thomas kept his lead of one minute and 51 seconds to beat Tom Dumoulin and four-time champion Chris Froome, who wound up in second and third places, respectively. It was indeed a sweet victory for Thomas, who captured the Critérium du Dauphiné title last month.
Thomas Takes The Spotlight
Thomas was destined to provide support to his Team Sky teammate Froome, who was among the favorites to win the 105th edition of cycling's most competitive race. Nonetheless, struggles halted Froome's chances of winning his fifth title after he suffered a crash in the opening stage.
This would be just the opening Thomas needed, as he took the spotlight from his teammate by winning back-to-back mountain stages. Thomas captured his first yellow jersey by winning the La Rosiere stage on July 18 before he became the first British rider to conquer the historic Alpe d'Huez.
Thomas sustained his momentum by successfully defending his advantage in the Pyrenees. He finished nine more stages in yellow to complete Britain's sixth Yellow Jersey victory in seven years. Team Sky has been dominating the entire playing field since 2012, with Bradley Wiggins winning the gold six years ago before Froome registered his incredible feat of four wins in five years.
The 32-year-old Thomas made his rousing debut in 2007, wherein he became the first Welshman to complete the energy-sapping race. While suiting up for the Barloworld team, Thomas wound up in the 140th spot, which is four hours behind winner Alberto Contador.
Froome Is Happy For Thomas
Despite a bumpy ride on the race, Froome was quick to congratulate Thomas, whom he mentioned as a good teammate who worked for him over the years. Prior to his Tour de France victory this year, Thomas has experienced numerous setbacks, as he suffered a cracked pelvis in the 2013 edition of the race after crashing in the initial stage in Corsica.
Thomas immediately rebounded in 2016, when he beat Contador to win the Paris-Nice race. The Welsh rider also made a resounding start in last year's Tour de France, as he spent four days in the yellow jersey before crashing out of the race after breaking his collarbone.