Tour de France: Geraint Thomas victory deliberate in December – Dave Brailsford
|Tour de France, Paris|
|Protection: Reside textual content and BBC Radio 5 reside commentary of the ultimate stage from 15:00 BST|
Geraint Thomas’ Tour de France victory shouldn’t be thought-about a shock win as a result of his whole season has been deliberate across the race, says his Group Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford.
Chris Froome was overwhelming favorite to win a record-equalling fifth Tour.
However Thomas went in to the race as Group Sky’s different ‘protected rider’ and can full his win in Paris on Sunday.
“In December we determined his season ought to be based mostly round peaking in July. He did it completely,” mentioned Brailsford.
“It could not have climaxed in a extra emotional means. It appeared like such a protracted race and on a knife edge for the previous few days after which all of the emotion got here out.”
The 32-year-old took management of the race by profitable two levels within the Alps within the second week of the three-week race – taking the chief’s yellow jersey after stage 11 and the next day changing into the primary Briton to win on the fabled Alpe d’Huez.
Thomas was equal to quite a few challenges from second-place Tom Dumoulin within the Pyrenees within the remaining week, whereas defending champion Froome faltered.
The Welshman took a lead of greater than two minutes into the time trial on Saturday’s penultimate stage and misplaced solely 14 seconds to world champion Dumoulin.
And with Tour conference dictating the yellow jersey shouldn’t be challenged on the ultimate stage in Paris, Thomas is aware of he solely has to cross the end line to develop into the third Briton to win the race – after Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Froome’s subsequent quartet of wins.
A proud Welshman
Brailsford mentioned the Group Sky squad had been underneath “strict orders” to not have any alcohol on Saturday night, though they had been “allowed a burger”, however he conceded “there isn’t a means that curfew can survive tonight [Sunday]”.
He added: “His subsequent race is supposed to be on Saturday however I’ve had so many texts and calls saying what number of Welsh individuals are coming to Paris that I concern he may not make it.
“He is just like the man subsequent door – no person has a nasty phrase to say about him. You could not discover a prouder Welshman
“When he is on the bike he makes the sacrifices however when he is not, he is the life and soul of the celebration.
“And like most Welshmen, he likes to have a pint and begin singing.”
Dauphine win key
June’s Criterium du Dauphine race is a wonderful indicator of kind heading into the Tour de France.
Wiggins received the week-long race in 2012 earlier than happening to triumph within the Tour and Froome has received the Dauphine on three events, every time then happening to take the Tour title.
Thomas received this 12 months’s version and Brailsford mentioned on BBC Radio 5 reside’s Sportsweek: “It was in all probability his greatest win in a stage race as much as that time and it set him up completely.
“Psychologically he went into the Tour with nice self esteem and a quiet assuredness and he simply quietly went about his enterprise, chipped off day-after-day after which discovered himself within the yellow jersey.”
Froome deserves reward
4-time Tour champion Froome was extensively anticipated to hitch Belgian Eddy Merckx, Spaniard Miguel Indurain and Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault on 5 wins.
He got here into the race as defending champion and holder of all three Grand Tour titles, having received the Vuelta a Espana final September and this 12 months’s Giro d’Italia in Could.
However his hopes of additionally matching Merckx’s document of 4 consecutive Grand Tour victories had been ended within the Pyrenees mountains within the remaining week.
Brailsford mentioned: “We had two leaders – Chris was the precise chief, Geraint the protected second chief – and the second it dawned on him that he wasn’t going to win, Chris instantly switched to supporting Geraint.
“All the main target was on Chris and that permit Geraint simply get on along with his enterprise and when the stress did come he had Chris at his facet, and he supported him with such grace that it gave him a calmness that helped him by way of.”
Essentially the most loyal man you may ever meet – Cavendish
Mark Cavendish, a former Group Sky and Nice Britain team-mate of Thomas, mentioned he was “so, so proud” of his achievement.
Cavendish, who has received 30 Tour levels however didn’t end this 12 months’s race, is in London for Sunday’s RideLondon-Surrey Basic, which is being broadcast on BBC tv from 13:30 BST.
Requested if he ever thought Thomas might win a Grand Tour, Cavendish informed BBC Sport: “Not too long ago, sure. There’s a particular hierarchy in Group Sky so I did not know if he’d get the chance.
“In the event that they [Team Sky] had mentioned to Geraint ‘proper, now you have to work for Froome’ he’d have achieved it. That is the type of man he’s. That is what is particular about him and why he deserves the win.
“He is essentially the most loyal man you may ever meet. He is unimaginable. I like him. I am so so pleased with him.”
Normal classification after stage 20:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Group Sky) 80hrs 30minutes 37secs
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Group Sunweb) +1min 51secs
3. Chris Froome (GB/Group Sky) +2mins 24secs
4. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Group LottoNL-Jumbo) +3mins 22secs
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Lotto NL-Jumbo) +6mins 08secs