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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Wales celebrates as Geraint Thomas secures Tour de France victory on penultimate stage

Tom Dumoulin won today’s time trial stage in the Basque country, but Thomas claimed third and Le Tour victory.

GERAINT THOMAS VIRTUALLY secured his maiden Tour de France triumph after finishing third in today’s penultimate stage time trial in the Basque country.

Thomas, of Team Sky, held a 2min 05sec overnight lead on Dutch rival Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) ahead of the 31km race against the clock from Saint-Pee-Sur-Nivelle to Espelette.

Dumoulin is the world time trial champion, and he stayed true to form by powering over the technical course in a time of 40 min 50sec to leave Thomas 14secs in arrears. But it was only enough to secure his virtual runner-up place in the race and deliver a first-ever Welsh tour victory.

The result gave Dumoulin his second runner-up spot in a Grand Tour this year after he finished second to Chris Froome at the Giro d’Italia in May. Froome, the defending and four-time Tour de France champion, produced the second best performance of the day, finishing just one second behind Dumoulin to move back up to third place overall.

Froome had been pushed down to fourth, and off the podium, when Primoz Roglic’s attack and a consequent stage win in the final day in the mountains on Friday left the controversy-hit former champion struggling. But Slovenian Roglic, of Lotto-Jumbo, failed to follow up his feat on the time trial. He finished seventh at 1:12 behind Dumoulin.

France Cycling Tour de France Source: AP/PA Images

Thomas, who has helped Froome win several of his six Grand Tour titles, celebrated at the end of the stage by jumping into the arms of his wife.

Barring catastophe tomorrow, when the peloton rides from Houilles to Paris in festive spirit before the sprinters take over for a battle on the Champs Elysees, the Welshman will win Team Sky’s sixth yellow jersey from the last seven editions of the race.

Bradley Wiggins won their first, in 2012, while Froome won the race in 2013 and 2015-2017.

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