Report: Geraint Thomas in Yellow


Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is in yellow after finishing second to Tom-Jelte Slagter on stage 4 of Paris-Nice

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Geraint Thomas in Yellow

Geraint Thomas in Yellow - After the withdrawal of Richie Porte to ride Tirreno-Adriatico, Thomas became the leader of his team on a course more suit to his attacking style. After three sprint stages, Thomas went on the attack on a lumpy run in to the finish and just held on to second with the peloton only seconds behind.

The Welshman showed he had the legs to race full gas up the Cote du Mont Brouilly climb and attacked along with Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) over the summit. The pair worked together to just edge out a selection of 27 riders who finished ony five seconds behind the leading duo.


“It’s a massive race,” he told “Behind the Grand Tours, it’s one of the biggest stage races you can do. So it’s great to wear the jersey, especially after the work the boys have done for me in the last few days. They were really good and I was happy I could repay them and get up there to take the jersey. It’s a great feeling.”

“I was pretty relaxed on the first few stages and felt like I could move about the bunch nicely and be in a good position. I was on the right side of the splits and those seconds will definitely come in handy I think over the next few days.”

“It would have been nice to have won the stage as well, but when I saw the guys coming with a kilometre to go, I didn’t want to throw away that effort we’d just made. I rode hard and got jumped, but like I say, it’s just great to be wearing the jersey.”

“I felt decent on the climb and then afterwards I felt like I had a bit of gas left in the tank. It’s all still to race for and it’s going to be tough with four solid days to come. There’s still a lot of good bike riders within a few seconds so it will definitely be interesting racing!”

Team Sky rode as a unit once again, making sure Thomas was well-positioned ahead of the key final ascent, flanked by team-mates Edvald Boasson Hagen and Vasil Kiryienka.

ASO Report

They might have seemed unexpected leaders at the start but Geraint Thomas and Tom-Jelte Slagter proved the skeptics wrong in the decisive 201.5-kms 4th stage of Paris-Nice to Belleville on Wednesday.

The steep Mont-Brouilly was thought to the first turning point of the Race to the Sun this year and it was. And in a most indecipherable race this year, Dutchman Slagter and Welshman Thomas were the boldest, breaking away from the pack to go for stage win and yellow jersey. Both joined their efforts to achieve their respective goals and managed to hold a first bunch of favorites at bay to earn their moment of glory.

Overall, Thomas, who only replaced title-holder Richie Porte as the Team Sky leader on the eve of the start, leads stage 3 winner John Degenkolb by three seconds with Slagter third, four seconds adrift.

Four-man break
The start was given at 10:45 to 164 riders in sunny weather, as usual this week. Winner three years ago in Belleville, Thomas Voeckler (EUC) briefly attempted to part company with the bunch before being reeled in. Valerio Agnoli (AST), Laurent Didier (TFR) and stage 3 escapee Perrig Quemeneur (EUC) in turn tried their luck after 11 km and were quickly joined by Spanish champion Jesus Herrada (MOV). The peloton let them go and the gap went up to 6:20 at most at kilometre 111 before the first climbs appeared.

Agnoli claims polka-dot jersey
The four just had the time to tackle the 3rd category Cote de la Clayette (km 137.5), Col de Champ de Juin (Km 156.5) and Col de Crie (Km 164) before being reined in. Each time, Agnoli collected the four points by crossing the top in first place which was enough for the Italian to take the polka-dot jersey away from France’s Christophe Laborie. The break ended at the foot of Mont Brouilly (Km 183), leaving the stage for the strong men of this Paris-Nice to battle it out.

Slagter and Thomas the boldest
Team Sky, who took charge of most of the chase, kept leading the way in the steep hill over looking the Beaujolais vineyards. The decisive move was launched by Slagter, the 2013 winner of the Tour Down Under, who surged in the last kilometre of the ascent. Geraint Thomas (was the only rider capable of taking his wheel.

The two took turns in the last ten kilometers with a first bunch involving other favorites like Vincenzo Nibali (AST), Carlos Betancur (AG2R), Jakob Fuglsang (AST) or world champion Alberto Rui Costa (LAM) on their heels, while yellow jersey holder John Degenkolb (GIA) was in a second group, not too far down.

On the line, track specialist Thomas and hopeful Slagter retained a slim lead on their chaser and Thomas, who had done most of the work in the finale, could not resist the Dutchman’s jump in the final stretch.

Another Dutchman, Wilco Kelderman, broke from the bunch in the last kilometer to snatch third place.

1 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte Garmin Sharp 05:00:09
2 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky
3 KELDERMAN Wilco Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:05
4 MATTHEWS Michael Orica GreenEDGE
5 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6 VICHOT Arthur
7 VELITS Peter BMC Racing Team
8 ROJAS José Joaquin Movistar Team
9 GAUTIER Cyril Team Europcar
10 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale
11 COSTA Rui Lampre – Merida
12 IZAGIRRE Ion Movistar Team
13 SEP̼LVEDA Eduardo Bretagne РS̩ch̩ Environnement
14 WELLENS Tim Lotto Belisol
15 BETANCUR Carlos AG2R La Mondiale
16 CARUSO Damiano Cannondale
18 NIEMIEC Przemyslaw Lampre – Merida
19 SCHLECK Fränk Trek Factory Racing
20 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale
26 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team
30 NORDHAUG Lars Petter Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:18
31 DEGENKOLB John Team Giant-Shimano
32 YATES Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ 57
59 CHAVANEL Sylvain IAM Cycling
69 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team
101 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @4.15
108 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar
116 HUSHOVD Thor BMC Racing Team 07:06
117 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE
120 SCHLECK Andy Trek Factory Racing
128 GOSS Matthew Orica GreenEDGE
132 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
137 PHINNEY Taylor BMC Racing Team 08:14
149 ROWE Luke Team Sky @ 9.55

1 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky 18:14:25
2 DEGENKOLB John Team Giant-Shimano 00:03
3 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte Garmin Sharp 00:04
4 ROJAS José Joaquin Movistar Team 00:08
5 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale 00:12
6 KELDERMAN Wilco Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:15
7 BETANCUR Carlos AG2R La Mondiale 00:17
8 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:19
9 GAUTIER Cyril Team Europcar


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