Rider of the week
It has been a great week-end for Sky’s Geraint Thomas, who is enjoying his best ever Classics campaign. On Friday, the Welsh rider took an emphatic win in the 58th edition of E3 Harelbeke, after an impressive display all day long and a perfect timed attack with just 4 km to go. After going at the forefront on the legendary Oude Kwaremont, where he was quickly followed by Zdenek Stybar and Peter Sagan, Thomas was the main powerhouse of that group, his hard work being the reason for him and the other two cyclists staying at the front.
Knowing that he’s the weakest in a sprint, the 28-year-old attacked with just four kilometers left and dispatched Sagan – who popped and couldn’t follow – and Stybar, who waited too much before deciding to go after him. There was nothing more to do for the Czech, considering Geraint Thomas was rolling at around 50km/h in those last kilometers of the race as he swept into Harelbeke, where he became the first ever British cyclist to win the Belgian semi-classic.
After that victory, Thomas said that the result gave him the much need confidence for the rest of the Classics, and this was obvious two days later in Gent-Wevelgem, where he has the most powerful rider in the race, although this didn’t land him another win, but a third place, behind Luca Paolini and Niki Terpstra. The result was equally impressive, as Thomas survived a crash before getting at the front and taking the last place on the podium, which helped him climb to second in the World Tour standings.
Before E3 Harelbeke, people were talking of Ian Stannard and Bradley Wiggins as Sky’s main riders for the cobbled Classics, but Geraint Thomas’ huge results add a new dimension to the team’s plans for Flanders and Roubaix. Of course, Thomas will now have to ride with the favorite tag on his back, but at the rate he’s going, barring crashes or misfortunes, next Sunday he has a huge chance of becoming Britain’s second De Ronde winner, after Tom Simpson, in 1961.