NEWS
29/07/2018 18:42 BST | Updated 30/07/2018 00:03 BST

Geraint Thomas Wins Tour De France: 5 Things To Know About The Team Sky Rider

Here's why people like the Welsh cyclist.

Geraint Thomas sealed Tour de France victory in Paris on Sunday, becoming the third Briton and the first Welshman to win the world’s most famous bike race.

The 32-year-old did not start the race as a favourite, and was only fully handed the leadership of Team Sky when four-time winner Chris Froome faltered on stage 17 just days before Paris.

Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

Here are five things to know about the much-liked sportsman who has built a reputation as a reliable deputy - and personable, funny guy you could imagine having a pint with - who is now having his moment in the sun.

1. He once rode a Tour de France with a broken hip.

Tim de Waele via Getty Images
Thomas crashes in 2013.

In 2013, Thomas was riding in support of Froome when he came down in a huge pile-up on the opening stage of the Tour de France.

Scans later revealed a fractured pelvis. For some it would have ended their race, but not Thomas - who effectively rode 20 stages with a broken hip.

“It was without doubt the worst pain I have experienced on a bike,” he wrote in his acclaimed book, The World of Cycling, According to G.

“Each pedal stroke felt like being jabbed with a burning branch.

“Trying to get out of the saddle to get over a slight rise was extraordinary. Trying to put some actual power down was like being sawn in half.

“So why did I keep going? Because I had trained all year for it. Because my team-mate Chris Froome had a great shot of winning the yellow jersey.”

2. His school has produced a sporting golden generation

PA Wire/PA Images
Pictures of ex-pupils Geraint Thomas, Gareth Bale and Sam Warburton on the wall of fame at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff.

Thomas went to Whitchurch high school in north Cardiff, whose former students include Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale and former Welsh rugby international and captain Sam Warburton.

All were alumni within a three year period in the last decade.

3. He’s a proud Welshman.

After his victory was all but confirmed, he celebrated with a national delicacy.

His first cycling experience took place with the Maindy Flyers club at its velodrome in Cardiff, and he gave a shout out to the club when on the podium in Paris on Sunday.

The feeling is mutual. His victory will be recognised with Welsh landmarks being illuminated in yellow.

Cardiff City Hall is being bathed in the colour of the yellow jersey, and castles across the country and the Welsh Government offices are also being turned yellow.

4. He’s won two Olympic gold medals.

PA Archive/PA Images
Thomas with Great Britain's Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh celebrating with their gold medals in the men's team pursuit at the 2012 Olympic Games.

While the casual cycling viewer may not be familiar with Thomas, he is a serial winner.

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and London in 2012, Thomas won a gold medal and took the world record in the team track pursuit on both occasions, adding to the three track cycling World Championships he had already won.

5. He’s pretty funny.

The man they know as ‘G’ is seen as an antidote to the robotic, personality-free modern cyclist, and is seen as having a good comedy range. 

In 2015, Thomas flew off the side of the road at high speed during the descent of the Col de Manse in France.

Incredibly, he climbed back up the ditch with the help of a fan, raced to the finish line, and was cracking jokes at the finish line.

“I feel all right for now,” Thomas explained.

“I guess my doctor will ask me my name soon. I’ll say: Chris Froome.”

The joke continued the following morning on Twitter.