Thomas Wins Stage 1 of Tour de France
Geraint Thomas has won stage 1 of this year's Tour de France for his Sky outfit. The Englishman powered to victory in the 14 kilometer individual time trial that was contested under rainy conditions in the streets of Düsseldorf, Germany. BMC Racing Team's Stefan Küng (Switzerland) finished second, and Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) finished third.
Commenting on the stage victory and Tour de France lead, Thomas told Roadcycling.com "It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve had my fair share of bad luck this year and back home the last month hasn’t been great. My wife and mum have both had a bit of a rough time. It’s amazing to get this win and thanks to everyone who has supported me. It’s a great day."
"I've had my fair share of bad luck this year and to just not get any was good. I've had a tendency to go out a bit too fast sometimes and be a bit too keen. But I think I paced it well and it couldn't have gone any better."
Roadcycling.com has previously predicted Thomas will win the Tour de France. Thomas, however, maintains Chris Froome is the team's only leader in this year's Tour de France.
"I just want to enjoy tomorrow. Any extra day in the jersey is a massive bonus and it doesn’t change the goal of the team. We’ll still ride 100 percent for Froomey (Chris Froome) and do what we have to do – as if we didn’t have the jersey in the way," Thomas explained.
Time trial world champion Tony Martin disappointingly only managed to finish the stage in fourth place, though contested on home ground. Defending Tour de France Champion Christopher Froome finished in sixth place, 12 seconds behind teammate Thomas. Other general classification favorite Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) surprisingly finished 47 seconds down and his team has failed to to include a general classification extra such as Rohan Dennis in its Tour line-up.
"Keep it rubber side down was probably more the goal. I followed Nicolas Roche in the car just before my start and he binned it, so I was petrified to be honest. It was such a slippery course. I would have liked to have done a quicker time, but the main thing is to have kept all of my skin. I was a little bit nervous, especially after watching my teammate crash. At the end of the day, I took no risks out there and I think that was the way to ride it out there today," Porte explained.
American Taylor Phinney, who has failed to deliver notable results this season because of injuries, today showed significant improvement by stopping the clock in 12th place for his Cannondale Drapac Team, just 17 seconds behind stage winner Thomas.
Today's victory for Thomas is his first ever stage victory in a Grand Tour. He will wear the yellow race leader jersey in tomorrow's stage 2, which will be a 203.5 kilometer ride from Germany's Düsseldorf to Liege in Belgium. Look for sprinters such as Andre Greipel, Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel to battle for the stage victory, unless Belgians Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Philippe Gilbert (Team QuickStep Floors) succeed at forming a breakaway group and keeping the hungry sprinters behind in their home country. Sunweb's Michael Matthews and Patrick Bevin (Team Cannondale) are notable outsiders.
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