BEST TOUR DE FRANCE STAGES

This year’s jour­ney to yel­low may have started in the Vendée and ended in Paris but Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France ca­reer had many a twist and turn be­fore it got there

Cycling Weekly - - THOMAS - Words Paul Knott

2010 Stage 3 Wanze > aren­berg Porte Du Hain­aut

It was only Thomas’s third Grand Tour and his first Tour de France since his de­but in Lon­don three years ear­lier. How­ever, this was a more pol­ished Thomas re­splen­dent in the Bri­tish cham­pion’s jersey in Team Sky’s first Tour de France.

Rather than just glide round the cob­bles and stay out of trou­ble, the 24-year-old drove the front group to main­tain their gap be­fore tak­ing sec­ond on the sprint to the line be­hind stage victor and even­tual green jersey win­ner Thor Hushovd. Thomas’s per­for­mance re­sulted in a stint in the white jersey, which he would hold un­til stage seven, the one shin­ing light in a dis­ap­point­ing de­but Tour de France for Sky.

2013 Stage 1 Porto-vec­chio > bas­tia

Af­ter a year’s hia­tus from the Tour to fo­cus on the team pur­suit on the track at the Lon­don Olympics, Thomas’s re­turn started with a bang, un­for­tu­nately not the bang he would have hoped for.

On a stage that will be re­mem­bered for the Orica­greenedge team bus get­ting stuck un­der­neath the fin­ish gantry, Thomas found him­self crash­ing on the run-in to Bas­tia. A frac­tured pelvis looked like it might end his race be­fore it had even be­gun, as he was lifted onto the bike to roll home in last place.

How­ever, Thomas said af­ter the crash that he hadn’t turned up just to do a lap of France, show­ing that he was keen to con­trib­ute de­spite strug­gling to mount the bike in the fol­low­ing days. With two hard days in Cor­sica to fol­low as well as a high-paced all-out team time trial around Nice a few days later, Thomas showed his met­tle to grind through the stages ahead of the time cut and even con­trib­ute to the team’s ef­forts in the moun­tain ranges. Thomas made it all the way to Paris, while Chris Froome took over­all vic­tory.

2014 Stage 5 YPRES > aren­berg Porte Du Hain­aut

Four years af­ter his first Grand Tour jaunt on the cob­bles, Thomas had proven his pedi­gree on the rough stuff with top 10s in Flan­ders and Paris-roubaix ear­lier that year. There­fore a wet day on north­ern French farm tracks was hardly out of his com­fort zone. On the day where Chris Froome crashed out, Thomas guided light­weight back-up team leader Richie Porte across the cob­bles in the pour­ing rain.

It re­in­forced his su­per do­mes­tique sta­tus and prompted boss Dave Brails­ford to coin the phrase ‘Plan G’,

“Dave Brails­ford coined the phrase ‘Plan G’, sug­gest­ing that lead­er­ship du­ties might await”

The ju­nior Paris-roubaix win­ner made light work of the cob­bles of north­ern France in 2010

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