Sports Eye

Surprising UK cyclist Geraint Thomas

By Jesus A. Garcia, Jr.

 

THE talk of sporting world during these days especially in Europe was the surprising conquest of Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas of this year’s Tour de France.  The little-known fellow from Cardiff, Wales originally assigned to help his skipper, compatriot, four-time and defending champion Chris Froome, turned to be the best in this year’s 103 edition of TdF, edging current world champion Tom Dumoulin of Netherland by a mere 1:59 minutes and Froome by 2:31 ticks. Surprising because the unheralded Thomas, 32, known to be an untamed and a quitter due to crashes in multi-stage racings surprised the universe cycling enthusiasts (including this writer) by winning his first TdF tiara after nine years of try starting in 2007 which he finished ahead 140 finishers out of 189 starters.

Last year, despite winning the TdF’s first stage and the first from his country Wales to do so, Thomas abandoned the 21-day bikefest in the ninth stage due to hip injury caused by a crash. This also happened to him last year in the 21-day Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) due also to a bump, and quit. He tried the Giro three times but failed miserably landing 118th in 2008 and 80th in 2012. His best finish in the TdF was in 2015 and 2016 both finishing in 15th place out of 198 world accredited professional riders. He tried the 21-day Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) once in 2016 but survived a poor 69th place.

Remember, TdF is the oldest, toughest, longest, richest and the most prestigious bicycle road race in the world with Giro as second and Vuelta as third, European scribes say. Cycling is so popular in France, since then and until now, and considered this two-wheeled event as their number one favorite sport and football (soccer) as their number two.

I believe them. I’ve been following these events since I was a child and earned some points and methods how to win a multi-stage race in the national side during my era. It paid off.

Actually, the six-foot tall Thomas’ real forte in cycling is track racing, a pursuit event. As a perennial member of the UK national pursuit squad, he won three gold medals in the World Championships and won two golds in Olympic Games (2008 Beijing and 2012 London). He did not give much attention to road racing before, knowing that road training and racing is strenuous and so taxing but suddenly he found himself to be a good mountain climber, too, when he started experimenting on road race. Although he failed miserably in his first ten years try in the world’s top three Tours (France, Italy, Spain), he eventually succeeded this year and brought another honor to UK, especially his country of birth Wales. Thomas’ win is UK’s third in TdF after Bradley Wiggins and Froome

Froome, 33, appeared determined to win his fifth TdF title this year, to equal the achievements of TdF five-time winners Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault of France, Eddy Merckx of Belgium and Miguel Indurain of Spain. But he failed. He will be 34 years of age next year, still young, most skilled and I believe he can still make it with good discipline and sans misfortunes on his training and competitions.

Let’s wait and see.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said, “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever the blasphemes they may utter; But he who blasphemies the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.” MARK 3: 28-29

 

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