GERAINT Thomas will finish the Tour de France in second place just over a minute behind his team-mate Egan Bernal.
Last year’s winner of the Tour de France showed incredible sportsmanship, dignity and team work as he gave the young Colombian his opportunity around two weeks into the tour having looked to be struggling on a few stages of the race.
Thomas suffered a couple of crashes and he lost time to the cause celebre, Julian Alaphilippe on a few stages, but the team tactics of Team Ineos ensured that Thomas and Bernal were never far from podium placement.
In the final week of the tour and in the most gruelling alpine stages Julian Alaphilippe finally cracked but it was the 22-year-old Colombian Bernal who was given the green light to take time on the yellow jersey and Thomas himself. When Bernal was asked where the order to go had come from he said ‘G’.
The team tactics played out similarly in last year’s tour as Thomas and Froome vied for the leadership of Team Sky. On that occasion Thomas’s sheer physical dominance saw him dramatically move ahead of Froome eventually finishing 2:24 ahead of the four times winner of the tour.
It was evident from post-race interviews that Thomas had gifted the opportunity to Bernal having had open and honest conversations within the team and out on the road.
Bernal sealed his victory on Stage 19, a 126km stage from Saint-Jean-de Maurienne to Tignes. It ended in dramatic fashion with the finish time being taken at the top of the Col d’Iseran following a hail shower and landslide on the finishing section of the course. Bernal was 48 seconds ahead of Alaphilippe at that point.
Stage 21 was also hit by a landslide and the stage was cut short at Val Thorens. Alaphilippe cracked once more and Thomas played a cat and mouse game with his nearest challenger Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk.
Wales can be very proud of Thomas and his second place, which but for a few incidents could have seen him taking his second Tour win. Gracious in defeat Thomas crossed the line of the penultimate stage hand in hand with the young Bernal.
Bernal will cruise in to Paris today Sunday (Jul 28) barring any disasters and become the youngest winner of the Tour de France post-World War 2
The Colombian flags will be flying alongside Welsh flags in Paris later today and why not. Llongyfarchiadau Geraint.
GC standings going into final stage:
|1||1||–||Egan Bernal||CO||Team INEOS||79:52:52|
|2||3||▲1||Geraint Thomas||GB||Team INEOS||1:11|
|3||4||▲1||Steven Kruijswijk||NL||Team Jumbo-Visma||1:31|
Posting on Twitter Chris Froome said: