Thomas conquers France: Brilliant Brit Thomas secures first ever Tour de France title and heads to Paris knowing only a catastrophe can stopping him finishing with the yellow jersey
- Geraint Thomas heads to Paris in the yellow jersey and in control as he aims for his first Tour de France title
- Thomas is in a commanding position after 31km in the French Basque Country on Satuday afternoon
- He is well ahead of Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin who needs to make up a massive amount of time to beat Thomas
- Only a real catastrophe can prevent the 32-year-old from Wales from winning the Tour de France on Sunday
Geraint Thomas is set to win the Tour de France on Sunday after protecting his yellow jersey in the stage 20 time trial from Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle to Espelette.
Thomas finished the stage with a lead in yellow of one minute and 51 seconds after finishing third on the road.
His closest rival in the general classification, Tom Dumoulin, won the stage by one second from Chris Froome and 14 seconds from Thomas, but the world time trial champion never looked like putting Thomas’ comfortable cushion in danger.
Geraint Thomas is on the verge of winning his first Tour de France title after he maintained his big lead on Saturday
Thomas heads to Paris on Sunday knowing that only a catastrophe can scupper his chances of winning the Tour
Thomas handled stage 20 in perfect fashion and has been a picture of calm throughout this gruelling Tour de France
Holland’s Tom Dumoulin (left) is the closest to Thomas but in the overall standings but is a long way off the Welshman’s lead
BRITISH DOMINANCE AT TOUR DE FRANCE
2012 winner: Bradley Wiggins
2013: Chris Froome
2014: Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)
2015: Chris Froome
2016: Chris Froome
2017: Chris Froome
2018: Geraint Thomas (likely winner)
Thomas will become the third British winner of the race, joining Sir Bradley Wiggins and Froome, and it will mean the trio have won six of the last seven editions, all in Team Sky colours.
Froome’s performance was enough to put him back on the podium and he will finish third overall, having overhauled LottoNL-Jumbo’s Primoz Roglic on the stage.
Froome had started the Tour looking for a record-equalling fifth Tour title and seeking a rare Giro-Tour double, but he found that attempting to win a fourth consecutive Grand Tour was a step too far.
Thomas emulates Wiggins in converting himself from an Olympic team pursuit champion into the winner of the world’s biggest road race.
The 32-year-old had never before finished in the top 10 of a Grand Tour. In his only previous serious attempt to win one, he was forced to withdraw following a crash midway through last year’s Giro d’Italia.
Though Team Sky have faced ill-feeling on the French roadside once again in this Tour, Thomas is a popular figure in the world of cycling and victory for a man so long accustomed to playing a supporting role for others will be celebrated far and wide.
Thomas’s Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome pictured during his individual time trial run in the south of France on Saturday
Froome finished second at the end of stage 20 and could still finish the Tour in second place ahead of Dumoulin