Tour de France 2018: Geraint Thomas fulfils childhood yellow jersey dream
Welshman wins the 105th edition of the race by nearly two minutes
Britain’s Geraint Thomas fulfilled his childhood dream by winning the Tour de France on Sunday after the 21st and final stage won by Norway’s Alexander Kristoff.
Thomas, of Team Sky, finished the race in Paris with a near two-minute lead on Dutch rival Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) to secure his first yellow jersey, with teammate and four-time and defending champion Chris Froome finishing third at 2:24.
“It’s still not sinking in, it’s incredible,” said Thomas, looking gaunt and tired after three weeks of “suffering day-to-day” on the 105th edition.
The 32-year-old Welshman, the third Briton to win the race after Froome and Bradley Wiggins, secured Team Sky’s sixth victory in the race from the past seven editions.
“Big respect to Froomey,” he said. “It could have been awkward, there could have been tension... he’s a great champion and I’ve always had respect for you.
“The dream was always to participate, and that dream came true 11 years ago. Now, up here, being in the yellow jersey in front of all of you (the crowd) is just... wow.”
Thomas, known for having a beer while watching his favourite sport of rugby, was quick to grab a Welsh flag before he jumped on to the top step of the podium before listening to a rendition of God Save the queen – the British national anthem.
“I started cycling because of this race. I remember running home from school to watch it,” said Thomas, who paid a heartfelt tribute to his wife Sara, who was emotional as she stood on the sidelines.
“The amount of support I’ve got... ah, my wife. Big thanks to Sara. She’s been with me through thick and thin.”
Thomas, who won back-to-back stages in the Alps before sealing victory with a third-place finish in the penultimate stage time trial on Saturday, took a 1 minute 51 seconds lead over Dumoulin into the 21st stage from Houilles to the French capital.
The final stage is usually a festive affair, and Thomas was seen celebrating with fellow Sky teammates early in the stage as he soaked up becoming the first Welsh yellow jersey winner.