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Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) survived a tense and wet opening time trial at the Tour de France on a day that saw treacherous conditions take down several riders along the 13.2km course in Copenhagen.
The Welshman went off relatively early but rode through a solid downpour for all of his effort before eventually crossing the line in a time of 15:42. He lost 18 seconds to Tour de France favorite and defending champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) but finished within a cluster of riders with aspirations of the GC.
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Thomas, the winner of the race in 2018, started off super cautiously in the conditions and took no risks. He even raced in a gilet, forgetting that he had it over his skinsuit until his ride began.
“That was the worst first half of a time trial that I’ve ever done. I wanted to start fairly conservatively, power-wise, but everyone is telling you to go easy on the corners because it’s three weeks and there were crashes apparently,” he said.
“Then the first few corners I was cornering like my wife and she hasn’t ridden a bike for twelve years. Mate it was unbelievable. Then I realized that I still had my gilet on. I zipped it up and it was nice and snug but I didn’t realize it was still on.”
Thomas’ approach changed at the intermediate time check when he realized that he was starting to lose serious time on his rivals. He used the long straight sections to maintain his power and then took a few more corners with speed.
“Once I went through the first time check and was 18 seconds down I just thought I’d take the pin out and sod it, I’d just go. Then it went alright. The legs were good, which was the main thing but cornering, I was absolutely terrible. I just over-thought it. In the wet the best thing is to flow and maintain the speed but I just wasn’t flowing. I could have done a better ride and that’s annoying because you always want more. I can take the positives though,” he said.
“For me I’m better if I take the pin out. Some people are scared when I say that because I’ve got a bit of a reputation but you just flow better. It’s one day down.”