Published: Mon, July 30, 2018
Sport | By Matt Richards

Tour de France 2018: Geraint Thomas wins to make sporting history

Tour de France 2018: Geraint Thomas wins to make sporting history

Team Sky suffered a setback in their attempt to secure a fourth consecutive Tour de France and Grand Tour victory with their Italian rider Gianni Moscon disqualified after landing a punch on Team Fortuneo-Samsic rider Elie Gesbert at the beginning of Stage 15.

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

As the race rolls into Paris, Thomas is - barring disaster - guaranteed to retain the Yellow Jersey due to convention which dictates the final stage is little more than a celebratory procession.

The sprint finish had been set up in the final lap of eight circuits around the Champs-Elysees, after late solo breaker Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) was caught just 200 metres from the finish line.

On the contrary, many Australians will feel happy for Thomas, who is well known to the domestic Australian cycling scene.

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To win the Tour, with two prestigious mountain stage wins along the way, Thomas had to shake off his unlucky tag.

From his days as a former student at Cardiff's Whitechurch High School, where fellow alumnae include the former British Lions captain Sam Warburton and Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale, to today when the once young cyclist on the rise is now Tour de France champion.

Thomas's win was a surprise given Froome arrived in France as the team's leader, but it is another sign of their strength that even when the four-time champion faltered, the team did not.

The team's dominance in recent years and Froome's positive test for excessive levels of the asthma drug Salbutamol (before subsequently being cleared of any wrong-doing) fuelled the crowds' anger.

"He was never put into trouble by anyone in the mountains, or on any stage, also not by me", said Dumoulin.

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"I felt good. I felt strong. The last time I cried is when I got married". The decision was supported and accepted by Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford, who also apologised to Team Fortuneo-Samsic and Gesbert, describing the incident as "unacceptable".

"It comes down to tomorrow but I can take confidence with how I'm riding, and what will be will be", he said.

Dumoulin may or may not be back for another tilt at the yellow jersey next year. Normally it's a really hard stage but I seemed to float around today.

This victory will come in his ninth Tour, one fewer than the record for most appearances before winning, held by 1980 victor Joop Zoetemelk of the Netherlands. "The bad thing about TUEs at the moment is that if you've had a TUE, that's seen as a negative thing - but it's not". It was the biggest stage of all over three weeks.

For years he had arrived in Paris as just another domestique in Sky's train, having served Froome or Bradley Wiggins, and there was no doubt he had earned his time to wear yellow.

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