Geraint Thomas toasts his Tour de France win
Geraint Thomas savoured victory in the Tour de France with a glass of champagne on the road in to Paris yesterday.
Before Alexander Kristoff took victory in the final sprint on the Champs-Elysees, Thomas lined up with his Sky team-mates and posed for pictures while carrying the Welsh flag on the 116km stage from Houilles.
Thomas crossed the line alongside Chris Froome to confirm his final margin of victory at one minute 51 seconds over Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin, with Froome a further 33 seconds back in third place.
The third Briton to win the Tour did not start the race as either a favourite or the leader of his own team.
Though he had led Froome by more than a minute and a half after his victory on stage 12 to Alpe d’Huez, Thomas revealed he was only fully handed the leadership of the team after the four-time winner faltered on stage 17 to fall even further back just days before Paris.
“The real defining moment was when he had his bad day (on stage 17), but at the same time I was always allowed my own freedom,” the Welshman said.
“It wasn’t like I had to work for him as a domestique. Obviously the guys were riding for Froomey and I just stayed with them. I was the back-up leader and if I was good, I was good and I would stay in front.”
Froome never recovered from his opening-day tumble, but Thomas said he was always waiting for the Alps to settle the leadership question.
“I guess it (helped),” he said of Froome’s time loss. “But he was still looking to win the race.
“It was all about seeing how the Alps went and letting the road decide. As it turned out, after the Alps we were still both in a really good position.”
Thomas got to savour the rewards yesterday - and he has plans for plenty more of the same.
“I’m going to have a big party for a couple of weeks,” he said. “Maybe even a month.
“It is fantastic to win the Tour and it has been a great experience but I really want to chill out now, relax and have a party.”