Thomas Tour win planned in December, reveals Brailsford

Geraint Thomas puts on the yellow jersey

Thomas has worn the yellow jersey every day since taking control of the race on stage 11

Geraint Thomas’ Tour de France victory should not be considered a shock win because his entire season has been planned around the race, says his Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford.

Chris Froome was overwhelming favourite to win a record-equalling fifth Tour.

But Thomas went in to the race as Team Sky’s other ‘protected rider’ and will complete his win in Paris on Sunday.

“In December we decided his season should be based around peaking in July. He did it perfectly,” said Brailsford.

“It couldn’t have climaxed in a more emotional way. It seemed like such a long race and on a knife edge for the last few days and then all the emotion came out.”

The 32-year-old took control of the race by winning two stages in the Alps in the second week of the three-week race – taking the leader’s yellow jersey after stage 11 and the following day becoming the first Briton to win on the fabled Alpe d’Huez.

Thomas was equal to numerous challenges from second-place Tom Dumoulin in the Pyrenees in the final week, while defending champion Froome faltered.

The Welshman took a lead of more than two minutes into the time trial on Saturday’s penultimate stage and lost only 14 seconds to world champion Dumoulin.

And with Tour convention dictating the yellow jersey is not challenged on the final stage in Paris, Thomas knows he only has to cross the finish line to become the third Briton to win the race – after Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Froome’s subsequent quartet of wins.

A proud Welshman

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Thomas’ wife Sara was the first to congratulate him when he crossed the finish line after Saturday’s time trial

Brailsford said the Team Sky squad were under “strict orders” not to have any alcohol on Saturday evening, although they were “allowed a burger”, but he conceded “there is no way that curfew can survive tonight [Sunday]”.

He added: “His next race is meant to be on Saturday but I’ve had so many texts and calls saying how many Welsh people are coming to Paris that I fear he might not make it.

“He’s like the guy next door – nobody has a bad word to say about him. You couldn’t find a prouder Welshman. Every time he has the opportunity to go home to his family he will do.

“When he’s on the bike he makes the sacrifices but when he’s not, he’s the life and soul of the party.

“And like most Welshmen, he likes to have a pint and start singing.”

Dauphine win key

June’s Criterium du Dauphine race is an excellent indicator of form heading into the Tour de France.

Wiggins won the week-long race in 2012 before going on to triumph in the Tour and Froome has won the Dauphine on three occasions, each time then going on to take the Tour title.

Thomas won this year’s edition and Brailsford said on BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek: “It was probably his biggest win in a stage race up to that point and it set him up perfectly.

“Psychologically he went into the Tour with great self confidence and a quiet assuredness and he just quietly went about his business, chipped off every day and then found himself in the yellow jersey.

“He didn’t think about winning the overall title, took it day by day and did a fantastic job.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44997708

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