Tour de France 2017: Geraint Thomas wins opening stage


Tour de France 2017: Geraint Thomas wins opening stage

Britain’s Geraint Thomas won his first Grand Tour stage with victory in the opening 14km time trial of the 2017 Tour de France in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The Team Sky rider clocked 16 minutes four seconds to take the yellow jersey, with team-mate and defending champion Chris Froome 12 seconds back in sixth.

Swiss Stefan Kung (BMC Racing) was second with Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) third in wet conditions..!

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde is out of the race after crashing into a barrier.

Sunday’s 203.5km second stage goes from Dusseldorf to Liege, Belgium.

“It’s an amazing feeling, it’s great to get that win,” Welshman Thomas, 31, told ITV.

“I’ve got a tendency to go out too hard but I am getting old now and learning my lessons – it couldn’t have gone any better.”

Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) was faster than Thomas at the checkpoint but the German, who was the favourite to win the stage, faded to finish eight seconds behind in fourth.

Thomas becomes the eighth British rider to wear the yellow jersey and the first Welshman..!


Unexpected triumph

Thomas was not considered among the pre-stage favourites, with his form also in doubt after a crash forced him to abandon the Giro d’Italia in May.

His ride was not picked up by the television feed, which focused instead on French general classification hopeful Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), who went out a minute before Thomas but had barely crossed the line as the Welshman took first.

Thomas had been three seconds off the pace of then leader and team-mate Kiryienka at the 8.1km checkpoint but rode a negative split to finish seven seconds in front.

He faced a nervous wait with reigning world time trial champion Martin and Swiss time trial champion Kung out on the course.

But Kung could not maintain his slender advantage at the checkpoint and Martin misjudged his pace in the second half of the stage to concede a total of 12 seconds to Thomas in just under 6km and miss out on a yellow jersey at the first Grand Depart held in Germany since 1987..!