LUZ ARDIDEN, France, July 14, 2011 (AFP) – British Olympic champion Geraint
Thomas admitted to being spooked by two near crash disasters during the first
high mountain stage of the Tour de France Thursday.
Team Sky rider Thomas had been part of an early six-man breakaway which
built a nine-minute lead on the main peloton on the 211km ride from Cugnaux to
the first summit finish in Luz Ardiden.
But shortly after he crested the first of three major climbs, La Hourquette
d’Ancizan, he skidded off the road and fell off his bike to avoid going over
After remounting, the Welshman rode for about 400 metres before flirting
with disaster again, another braking maneuver forcing him off the road
towards a parked van.
“I just slipped going round that first bend,” said Thomas, who early in the
race had worn the white jersey for the best placed rider aged 25 and under.
“It wasn’t mechanical, and the second one I had a bit of mud on the tires.
I lost my head a bit but we changed bikes and it was fine.”
Thomas and Frenchman Jeremy Roy started the 13.3km climb to the summit
finish with a lead of around two minutes on a small chasing group.
However after 6km the pair were overtaken by Belgian Jelle Vanendert and
eventual stage winner Samuel Sanchez of Spain.
“At the start I just wanted to get stuck in and race it, and I did that,”
added Thomas, who won Olympic team pursuit gold in Beijing in 2008.
“With seven kilometers to go I thought it was quite close, but there was
still a lot of pedaling to go.”
Team Sky won their first stage on the race last week thanks to versatile
Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The next day disaster struck when their yellow jersey contender, Bradley
Wiggins, broke his collarebone in a crash and had to retire.