Le Tour: Thomas Sixth on Stage 1 of Tour

Fresh from his Silver medal in the British Road Race Championships, Welshman Geraint Thomas was sixth on the first stage of the Tour de France and as last year, wears the jersey of best Young Rider. Winner of the stage which saw a number of crashes near the end was classics speciallist Philippe Gilbert from Overall contender, Cadel Evans of Australia.

The Welshman showed a great turn of speed on the final climb at Mont des Alouettes to seal an impressive finish and ensure he pulled on the prestigious jersey for the second year in succession. Reported on the Tour de France website, Geraint said afterwards “The first week is always madness. It can be really sketchy with lots of crashes… everyone wants to be at the front and, especially today with the yellow jersey on the line, there was a lot of fighting for position going on. But fortunately most of our team managed to get up there into the final three kilometers relatively unscathed. I think Brad [Wiggins] got caught up in the second crash [just inside the final three kilometers] but I think he should be okay time wise. I felt great today as well, so it’s nice to have a prize jersey”.

“For me personally, the team time trial is what I enjoy. It’s like what I’ve been doing on the track – it’s very similar to the team pursuit – and I can’t wait for it. Obviously we’ve got a great team for it and we just want to get out there, give it our best, ride it well and hopefully that’ll be enough to win the stage. We’ve got a great chance. There are a lot of good teams out there and it’s going to be hard but if we ride it really well, we’ll be close.”

In other news, despite missing the first crash, Wiggins would not prove to be so lucky as the British national champion was brought down in a second crash that split the lead group in half with 2.2km remaining.

Sean Yates, Team Sky Sports Director: “When you consider what happened to other teams then we’ve come out of it very well. No one crashed, no one lost time although there was a little scare there for Wiggins. So that was a bit disconcerting but it turned out okay. G took the white jersey and we are relatively up there on the team classification which gives us a good start place for the TTT tomorrow.”

“It was super nervous being the first day of the Tour. That final few km’s was a nightmare for a GC man in that it was fast, downhill with a tailwind into a bunch of roundabouts. The Tour happens but once a year and when it suddenly comes back round you remember – it’s a big deal. The roads on the coast have lots of traffic calming measures and for bike racing it is a nightmare, hence the number of crashes”.

“Yet the one with 10k to go was on a perfectly straight bit of road where an Astana guy clipped a spectator. Everyone is standing close and you are screaming down trying to move up. We are car number 20, it’s pretty hectic – but we are back in the Tour! But we know G, when he’s on it he’s on it and he showed yet again that he is the man when it comes to that type of thing. He helped out Bradley great today.”

Geraint Thomas, Team Sky Rider: “It was a typical Tour stage, especially with the yellow jersey on the line. “It’s like the classics in Belgium, a bit of fighting, get the elbows out, like track racing. There was that crash there a couple of k’s out and I got a caught up a little bit so it was every man for himself from there really.”

“I had the legs to move up a bit and get stuck in. I’ve been feeling good and we’ll give it a good go tomorrow too. We’re in there with a real fighting chance. I could get used to it. It’s always nice wearing this (the white jersey). “It was a nice surprise as well because I hadn’t really thought about it.”

 See a pre-race video from Geraint Thomas — www.geraintthomas.com/videos

Ben Swift: “So stage one of the Tour de France is done and dusted. Carnage is one word that springs to mind. I don’t think I have seen that many crashes in one stage before. I ended up getting hurtled over the top of the crash at 2k to go, but luckily landed on my feet so no damage done. The crowds today were like nothing I have seen before and they say that today there was not as much as normal! What was very nice to see though was how many British flags there was out there flying. Now is time to rest up for the TTT tomorrow.  Bring it on!”

Check out my latest video from Stage one of the Tour de France here: www.benswiftcycling.com/videos

 Stage Result
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 4:41:31  
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03  
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:06  
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team    
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling    
7 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack    
8 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
9 Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack    
10 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad    

16 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo@ 6 secs
63 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling @ 6 secs
153 Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad  @ 6 secs   
154 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling   @ 6 secs

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