Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) survived a nervy first day in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France on Sunday, and despite taking a tumble with 30 kilometres to race the maillot jaune retained his lead ahead of stage 3.
The Welshman swept aside the opposition in the opening 14 kilometre time trial through Dusseldorf on Saturday to become just the eighth British rider to don the yellow jersey. Stage 2 from the German city to Liège in Belgium served up an entirely different proposition with a relatively flat parcours raced under wet conditions.
Thomas was involved in a crash that took down several of his teammates, including Chris Froome, but he was able to rejoin the main field before safely crossing the line in 35th place.
"Some guys crashed in front of us and a few guys came down," Thomas said after the stage.
"It was a little tumble at 30 kilometres to go and we were all in a good position. There was nowhere you could go, but it was all OK in the end and it was a nice bonus to keep the jersey at the end of the day, even though it was sketchy and not very nice conditions.
"I'm not sure who was first down, myself and Froome were top 10, top 15, and ended up hitting the deck but there's no real damage. I just took off a bit of skin."
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With Thomas in yellow, and having put time into a number of top 10 contenders, Team Sky have two viable options for the overall, should they need them. Chris Froome remains the designated leader having won the race three times, but Thomas's position within the squad could see him ride as their 'plan B' – an option perhaps needed given how the team saw four of their riders crash in the same incident as Froome and Thomas.
The Welshman quickly reiterated the team's plan for GC was focussed entirely around Froome, but that retaining the yellow jersey would be his aim for the next few days. Stage 3 ends with a 1.6 kilometre climb to the line, while stage 5 is set to see a major shake-up in the overall standings with the Tour reaching the first mountain summit of this year's race. Given Thomas's form, it's not impossible to envisage him keeping the leader's jersey until the first rest day.
"Hopefully I can keep it as long as possible, but the overall goal doesn't change," Thomas said before questioning turned towards Team Sky's controversial time trial skinsuits.
"You can borrow it if you want and see what time you do," Thomas said.
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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