UK's Thomas takes lead at Tour Down Under



Andrew Dent | AFP

Published — Wednesday 23 January 2013

Last update 23 January 2013 5:00 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

ADELAIDE, Australia: Britain’s Geraint Thomas launched an audacious attack on Corkscrew Hill then outsprinted his rivals to record a brilliant win in the second stage of the Tour Down Under on Wednesday.
Thomas, who won gold in the team pursuit at the London Olympics, broke clear halfway up Corkscrew Hill five kilometers from the finish line and was too strong in the closing stages, taking both the stage win and the overall lead in the season-opening WorldTour race.
The 26-year-old said he had been training hard heading into the new season, using London teammate Bradley Wiggins as motivation.
“Seeing what Brad did (at the Tour de France) last year has definitely given me the confidence to really push on on the road,” Thomas said after winning the stage in 2hr 44min 18sec.
Thomas took the field by surprise when he attacked on Corkscrew.
Although he was caught by three other riders on the downhill run to the finish line, he attacked again 400 meters from home to claim the 116.5km stage from Mt Barker to Rostrevor.
Spaniard Javier Moreno from Movistar was second with Radioshack Leopard’s Belgian rider Ben Hermans third, both a second behind Thomas.
Thomas also took over the ochre jersey as outright leader from Andre Greipel, the big German sprinter finishing more than six minutes back.
Thomas said afterwards he had been determined not to suffer a let down after claiming gold in the team pursuit in London.
“As soon as I finished the Olympics I was straight back on the road,” he said. “I wanted to start the year strong and that’s what I’ve done — it’s definitely a nice reward for all the hard work over winter.”
World road race champion Philippe Gilbert’s chances of overall victory are all but gone after he was involved in a crash soon after getting over Corkscrew.
The Belgian was not badly hurt, but he limped home two minutes and 49 seconds behind the leaders. Frenchman Arnaud Courteille and Giovanni Visconti of Italy were taken to hospital for assessment following the crash, but no riders were seriously injured.
Last year’s champion, Australia’s Simon Gerrans, conceded his hopes of defending the title were also gone after losing contact with the leading group and finishing 2min 36sec behind Thomas.
Thomas said he was worried he had attacked too early on the 2.4km climb up Corkscrew.
“At one point I did think perhaps I’d gone a bit early, got a bit keen up that climb, but I managed to just hang on over the top and fortunately there was another little group behind and we worked really well together,” he said.
“I just took a bit of a run at them and hit them with 400-350 meters to go. I knew it was a fast finish and I just gave it everything.”
The Welshman was quietly confident of hanging on to the lead, although he conceded Thursday’s stage from Unley to Stirling would not be easy.
“Tomorrow’s a tough stage, it’s a hard start so potentially there could be a strong group go away which would be pretty dangerous,” he said.
“But we’ve got a strong team, we’re just going to try and defend it tomorrow and if we do that it will be a real step forward.”
Thursday’s 139km stage starts in inner-city Unley and finishes with an uphill sprint into the town of Stirling.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The chief of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia), Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sanad, signed a SR35 million deal recently to construct nine buildings and various centers for Islamic organizations across the Kingdom.The deal, to be...
JEDDAH: Officials at the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) have emphasized their electronic training (e-training) system in their 5th Annual Seminar on Sunday.The five-day seminar was held at the office of the Jeddah Development Ce...
JEDDAH: The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) honored its distinguished employees from various departments and sectors under the “Thank you” program, on Sunday. The event was meant to encourage the employees so they can perform much bett...
JUBAIL: An accident on the busy Abu Hadriyah-Jubail road on Saturday afternoon left five people injured, once again highlighting commuters’ concerns about speeding and poor lighting among others. Over 17 accidents happened on this route in the past t...
RIYADH: A number of parents have complained about the lack of hygiene in schools, expressing fears about the potential spread of the MERS virus with the beginning of the new academic year. This comes in the backdrop of another death due to the deadly...
JEDDAH: Disputes over sharing of property or inheriting family business are common. But Dhahran has witnessed an unusual fight among four brothers — over donating kidney to their youngest brother.Coincidentally, all the brothers were found fit to don...

Stay Connected

Facebook