Geraint Thomas vowed he would “take his chance if it comes” at the Tour de France, after wrapping up an unexpected victory at the Tour de Suisse yesterday. The Welsh rider added, however, that he did not know what his role would be.
Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France champion, took advantage of a heavily depleted field in Switzerland – a number of teams and race favourites abandoned due to Covid – to become the first British rider to win the race.
The 36-year-old finished just three seconds behind Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) in the final-day time trial in Vaduz. But he was more than a minute quicker than Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe), which was enough to leapfrog the Colombian in the overall standings.
Having started the week working for Ineos-Grenadiers team-mates Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock – both of whom withdrew after testing positive for Covid – Thomas admitted the win was “unexpected”.
However, it gave him confidence ahead of the biggest race of the year, particularly after crashes at last year’s Tour and Tokyo Olympics left him wondering “what I did wrong in a previous life”.
“From the Tour last year to the end of the season was really hard, probably one of the hardest periods of my career,” Thomas said.
“To get this win, I didn’t really expect it with two other leaders in the team.”
Asked about his ambitions for the Tour, which begins in Copenhagen on July 1, he added: “I’m easy. We’ve got two other leaders in the team (likely to be Dani Martinez and Yates) and whether I can stay up on GC (general classification) for a while to play another card, or go for stages, or help other guys... whatever. Take my chance for sure, if it comes, help the boys if I have to.”
Elsewhere, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Irish sprinter Sam Bennett was fourth on the final stage of the Belgium Tour which was won by QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl’s Fabio Jakobsen. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)
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