Geraint Thomas Now a Genuine Tour de France Contender

Martin Green

Thursday, July 19, 2018 8:24 PM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 19, 2018 8:24 PM UTC

Welshman Geraint Thomas has won back-to-back Tour de France stages and he now enjoys a healthy overall lead -- causing the odds on him to plummet.

<p>The odds on Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas <a href="" rel="nofollow">winning the Tour de France</a> have been dramatically slashed after he secured a second consecutive stage victory. The Welshman holds onto the yellow jacket and he leads teammate Chris Froome by 1 minute and 39 seconds, confirming his status as a serious contender for glory. Some expected Thomas to fall away somewhat during the mountain stages, but he has responded emphatically. He prevailed in a dramatic five-man sprint finish ahead of stars like Froome and Tom Dumoulin after a gruelling climb up the legendary Alpe d’Huez on Thursday and now he should be oozing confidence.</p><p>Steven Kruijswijk led the way for a long time, but Froome passed him with 3.5km to go. Yet he was reeled in and Thomas surged clear of the pack to seize the stage, with Dumoulin second, Romain Bardet third and Froome back in fourth. The Welshman is now well clear in first place, followed by Froome, who is 11 seconds ahead of Dumoulin. Vincenzo Nibali is fourth in the general classification, followed by Primoz Roglic and then Bardet.</p><p>Thomas had already pulled off an unlikely victory in the 108.5km Stage 11 on Wednesday, powering away with 6km to go. He was still out at 9/2 ahead of Stage 12 on Thursday, while defending champion Froome was cut to just 1/2. Chief rival Richie Porte had already dropped out of the race, while big names like Nibali and Mikel Landa struggled, so Froome was expected to assert his dominance on a race he has won for the last three years. But Thomas has now pulled off back-to-back stage victories, having hit form at the perfect time.</p><p>“It’s nuts, I honestly can’t believe it,” he said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams I would win (Thursday).”</p><p>The Welshman remains modest, refusing to admit that he is a serious contender to win the 2018 Tour de France.</p><p>“I honestly mean it when I say Froome is still our leader,” he said. “He knows how to race for three weeks. For me, who knows, anything could happen, I could have a bad day and lose 10 minutes.”</p><p>Yet Team Sky’s boss, Sir Dave Brailsford, is hedging his bets and using Thomas and Froome as twin pronged leaders. Former champion Sir Bradley Wiggins believes Brailsford is getting both of their ears and keeping them both motivated for the same goal. Wiggins and Froome had a similar relationship to Froome-Thomas before Froome established himself as Team Sky’s main man. Froome hit back at Wiggins’ comments, but the four-time Tour de France champion could soon become rattled if Thomas maintains his high level of performance.</p><p>The <a href="" rel="nofollow">bookmakers </a>have responded by massively shifting their prices. Froome has drifted out to <a href=";a=e605009c-af6d-4596-a06f-dbd28d37b12f&amp;f=2" rel="nofollow">10/11 with Bet365,</a> while Thomas is now just 6/5. That has encouraged a flurry of bets on Froome, who has the experience, endurance and power to reel Thomas in over the next 10 days. It certainly looks like developing into a two-horsed race between these teammates.</p><p>Rigoberto Uran, second overall last year, is out after crashing during the cobbled stage to Roubaix. Bardet has a lot of ground to make up, but he only has four helpers after teammate Tony Gallopin abandoned, with nine days of racing to go. Adam Yates, Nairo Quintana and Nibali are still riding, but they are struggling. Froome is still the one to beat, but Thomas is making things interesting and he will grow in confidence if he still holds the yellow jersey as the race progresses.</p>
comment here