After some nervous moments on Monday, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) made it through his second day in the yellow jersey of the Tour de France unscathed, and has found that leading the race's overall classification, even for just a few days, has given him a taste for it, even if it is as teammate Chris Froome's understudy.
Since it was introduced in 1919, the yellow jersey has reached mythical status, and to wear the jersey is a rare and special thing. Thomas has no doubt felt a little bit of that over the last two days. In the back of his mind, Thomas knows that if and when the opportunity comes he will have to hand it over to his team leader Froome, but would like another proper shot at targeting a Grand Tour.
"I'd love that for sure," he said when asked how he would feel contesting for a general classification in the third week. "I had my chance in the Giro to test those waters, and it went tits up. It's something that I'd love to give a big go, whether it's the Tour, the Giro or the Vuelta. Maybe I'll go back to the Giro next year to give it another shot. This is a dream come true already. It would be even better to target one properly and wear it in the third week."
Thomas now heads up a Team Sky one-two after Froome moved up the standings at the end of stage 3. Thomas still leads Froome by 12 seconds following the opening time trial. The team also has Michal Kwiatkowski sitting in the top 10, giving them plenty of cards to play when the mountains arrive on Wednesday. Team principal Dave Brailsford said after the stage that it was the best start to the Tour de France yet for the squad, and Thomas agreed.
"I guess so. We've got the jersey from the start, and it's a massive benefit. We have the feeling that we're at the front of things," said Thomas. "We haven't had to work too hard to defend it, obviously in the last couple of days. The onus has been on the other sprint teams to control things. I think that everyone is going really well. Hopefully, that can continue. It's still a long way to Paris, but it's a great start. Obviously, for myself, it's a dream. It couldn't have gone any better."
The team got a taste of what they're in for over the next few weeks when their chief rival Richie Porte (BMC Racing) launched an attack inside the final kilometre of Monday's stage on the Côte de Religieuse. It caught them off-guard, but with so much interest from other teams in contesting for the stage victory, they didn't panic. It might be a different story in two day's time, though.
"Myself and Froomey were a little far back, about 20th position, so we had to make a bit of an effort to get back up," Thomas explained. "Richie attacked, and it was a strong attack. We weren't too stressed about it because we knew that Sagan and a few of the other guys wanted to go for the stage and were likely to cover it.
"I didn't really expect him to attack. From his team, I expected it to be guys like [Greg] Van Avermaet, but it shows that he's going to be aggressive and he's certainly going really well, he's really strong, and he'll be one to watch. As we saw in the Dauphiné, he's flying and going really well. I've said from the start that he's the main man and he reinforced that today."
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