It is the same story we see year after year. A pack of superbly conditioned athletes risks life and limb over the 20-plus stages of the Tour de France, with the winner decided in a couple of the mountain stages and the individual time trials.
Such was/is the case with the 2018 Tour de France, as Geraint Thomas protected his yellow jersey in Stage 20 to secure a nearly two-minute advantage into the final stage, which is, always has and probably always will be an entirely ceremonial finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
Tom Dumolin is in second, winning the 20th stage by one-second over Chris Froome. Thomas gave 14 seconds back to the field in the time trial, but all he needed to do was to avoid complete disaster after his friend and teammate Froome and he decided that Thomas was the stronger of the two and deserved the win.
“It’s just overwhelming,” Thomas said. “I didn’t think about it all race, and now suddenly I won the Tour.
Froome was attempting to etch his name into the record books of five-time Tour de France winners, but will have to delay that achievement.
“After a difficult day yesterday I did not think it was possible,” Froome said. “I’m very, very happy. Being on the podium with Geraint is a dream.”
As the race leader, Thomas had the advantage in the Race of Truth of knowing what was going on with his rivals who started ahead of him.
“I felt good. I felt strong. I felt really good, actually. I heard I was up and maybe I was pushing it a bit hard on some of those corners,” Thomas said.
Thomas moved into the lead on the 11th stage, a mountainous climb in the Alps. From that point forward, the members of his team worked to protect him and chase down any of Thomas’ close rivals who threatened to break from the peloton and close the time gap Thomas enjoyed. When he then backed the Stage 11 win with another in Stage 12, the famed climb up the Alpe d’Huez, the rest of the race was mainly processional.