Youngster finishes Tour

At only 21 years of age Geraint Thomas of Cardiff in Wales was the youngest rider in this year's...

At only 21 years of age Geraint Thomas of Cardiff in Wales was the youngest rider in this year's Tour de France. He became the first Welshman to finish the event since Colin Lewis' 84th place in 1967.

Thomas told BBC Sport Wales that he enjoyed the sprints but acknowledged that "as soon as we hit the Alps it was a different kettle of fish." He was tired, but happy in Paris, declaring that "everyone dreams of riding down the Champs Elysées and finishing the Tour. I'm happy to get here but feeling it."

Thomas finished 140th, nearly four hours behind winner Alberto Contador, but getting to the end was the real achievement for the Welshman. He was expected to gain some experience, then pull out of the race. Thomas had other ideas. "I was always going to go as far as I could."

The Briton admits that he "couldn't imagine what it would be like before, but I wanted to get stuck in and see what it was all about, I don't think you can imagine how hard, fast and chaotic it is out there until you actually do it."

He especially felt the mountain stages to be very taxing, admitting that "When we got to the mountains I was just trying to survive, taking it day by day."

Thomas, who wants to have a few beers to celebrate, will be resting for a few weeks. "Going to bed is the main aim!"

Thomas said he did not want to focus on the drug problems that blighted the Tour, but he feels that something good may come from the scandals. "It's obviously not been great, but times and attitudes are slowly changing," the 2004 World Junior Track Championships gold medallist admitted. He feels that "it's good for the future that people are getting caught now. His hope is that "people don't tarnish all Tour de France riders as drug takers."

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