Copyright: Tim De Waele –

Geraint Thomas powered into the yellow jersey after an incredible ride to kick off the 2017 Tour de France.

The Welshman set a winning time of 16 minutes and four seconds on soaking wet roads in Dusseldorf, not only claiming his first ever Grand Tour stage victory, but the maillot jaune to boot.
After enduring a nervous wait on the hot seat Thomas took the win by five seconds, leading home a superb showing from Team Sky – who placed four riders in the top eight positions.
Vasil Kiryienka was the early pace-setter and clocked the third best time on the day, while Chris Froome made a statement of his own with sixth place in Germany, the best of the GC contenders out on course. Michal Kwiatkowski debuted his new Polish national champion’s skinsuit with eighth.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” admitted a shell-shocked Thomas after the stage.
“I hadn’t even thought about it to be honest I was super relaxed coming in. I felt like somebody was going to beat me.
“I’ve had my fair share of bad luck this year and back home the last month hasn’t been great – my wife and mum have both had a bit of a rough time.
“It’s amazing to get this win and thanks to everyone who has supported me. It’s a great day.”

In addition to the famed yellow jersey, Thomas also pulled on the green points jersey, with Team Sky taking an early lead in the teams classification.


When asked about whether he’d felt a stage victory and yellow was a realistic prospect when he woke up on Saturday, Thomas admitted to Sky Sports News: “I was just thinking about the rugby – about the Lions! And now I’ve got my own little lion!
“The Tour is what got me into cycling in the first place. When I was 10 I remember convincing my dad to get Eurosport so we could watch the Tour and running home from school so I could watch the last 10km. To be the other side of that camera now and taking the jersey is an amazing feeling and I’m still shocked to be honest.
“I’ve had my fair share of bad luck this year and to just not get any was good. I’ve had a tendency to go out a bit too fast sometimes and be a bit too keen. But I think I paced it well and it couldn’t have gone any better.
“I just want to enjoy tomorrow. Any extra day in the jersey is a massive bonus and it doesn’t change the goal of the team. We’ll still ride 100 percent for Froomey and do what we have to do – as if we didn’t have the jersey in the way.”