Thomas to take foot off pedal

Geraint Thomas, wearing the leader's yellow jersey, riding past the Arc de Triomphe on the last stage of the Tour de France on Sunday. The 32-year-old, dogged by bad luck on several previous Tours, won the classic race on his ninth attempt.
Geraint Thomas, wearing the leader's yellow jersey, riding past the Arc de Triomphe on the last stage of the Tour de France on Sunday. The 32-year-old, dogged by bad luck on several previous Tours, won the classic race on his ninth attempt.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Tour winner unlikely to race in the Vuelta a Espana but is hungry for more success

PARIS • Geraint Thomas has said that his first Tour de France victory has given him a "taste" for more grand tour successes, although he appears unlikely to tackle the Vuelta a Espana despite being pencilled in for next month's race.

The 32-year-old Team Sky rider could barely contain his excitement after crossing the line on Sunday, draping the Welsh flag around his shoulders on the podium and calling it the best day of his life after his marriage to his wife Sara.

"I got into cycling because of this race," said Thomas, who won the race by 1min 51sec from Sunweb's Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin.

"I remember running home from school to watch the end of the Tour de France and the dream was always just to be part of it and that came true back in 2007.

"Now I am here in the yellow jersey. It's insane. I'm floating around on cloud nine.

"Maybe when I am 70 (and sitting) in a pub telling some 18-year-old what I used to be, maybe then it will sink in. For now it's a whirlwind. It would be nice to win more grand tours but, if I do nothing now for the rest of my career, I can be happy."

Thomas joins Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome on the roll call of British winners of the Tour.

However, the chances of him immediately tackling the Vuelta when it begins in Malaga on Aug 25 appear slim - with the Team Sky principal, David Brailsford, suggesting his newest grand tour winner will enjoy a much-needed break.

"For 'G', this is going to need a little while to sink in," Brailsford said.

"At his age, with the magnitude of the result, he has to take some time to absorb it. But he and Chris Froome are still hungry. Chris still wants to win. Geraint still wants to win. And we have young guys coming through too."

Thomas also paid tribute to team-mate Froome, who he said had not only helped him win the race but had also shown mental fortitude by surviving abuse from French fans.

"It's unfortunate, but it's a part of it," Thomas said.

"I took a lot of inspiration from Froomey and the way he deals with it all. Fair play, he's one of the strongest guys I know, mentally."

For his part, Froome, who has won this race four times, said he was happy to pass on the baton.

"I genuinely am happy for 'G'," he said.

"I am so proud of him, having been team-mates and friends for 10 years. And, for the team, it is the sixth Tour de France in seven years. It is massive for us."

However, Froome also looks certain to miss the Vuelta.

"I think I deserve a little bit of rest," he added.

"I have done four grand tours in a row and my wife Michelle and I are expecting a baby any day now, so it will be good to go home."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2018, with the headline 'Thomas to take foot off pedal'. Print Edition | Subscribe