Geraint Thomas wins Bayern Rundfahrt to cap great week for Team Sky

Welshman celebrates turning 25 last week by taking his maiden stage race win

by Simon_MacMichael   May 30, 2011  

Geraint Thomas © Simon MacMichael.jpg

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas has won the overall title in the Bayern Rundfahrt to take the first professional stage race win of his career. The Welshman’s victory caps a great race for the British ProTeam outfit, with Edvald Boasson Hagen winning the opening Stage in Freystadt on Wednesday – coincidentally, Thomas’s 25th birthday – and Bradley Wiggins comprehensively beating Fabian Cancellara in Saturday’s individual time trial.

Thomas’s own performance in that stage against the clock on top of some solid performances earlier in the Bavarian race – on Friday’s Stage 3, he had finished second to HTC-Highroad’s Michael Albasini – propelled him to the top of the overall standings.

Yesterday, he finished in the pack in yesterday’s fifth and final stage from Friedberg to Moosburg, won by Leopard Trek first-year pro Giacomo Nizzolo, to confirm his overall victory.

Quoted on the Team Sky website afterwards, Thomas, who has already impressed this season with a strong showing in Paris-Nice, second in the Dwars door Vlaanderen and a top ten place in the Tour of Flanders, reflected on his win.

It’s great, I didn’t really expect it coming into the race,” he said. “We had Eddy [Boasson Hagen] and Brad [Wiggins] and Christian [Knees] as well – we thought all four of us were capable of winning it and to be in that position is fantastic.

"The goals this season were the classics and the Tour; I hit the first one of those pretty well, had a little bit of downtime after that and now the build-up to the Tour seems to be going pretty much to plan. I’ll have a nice, easy week now and then it’s the Dauphine and then the Tour will virtually be on us."

Sports director Servais Knaven was very happy with the concluding day of what had proved to be a very successful week for the team, commenting: "Today was another good day for us again. We took the GC for G, another podium finish for Edvald and the points jersey, plus the team prize - so not too bad."

Next month, Thomas will seek to defend the British national road race title he won last year, but before that race near Newcastle on 26 June, he is due to ride in the Criterium du Dauphiné, which starts with a Prologue in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in the French Alps next Sunday ahead of seven road stages that will favour the climbers in the peloton.

Last year, Thomas finished fourth behind Alberto Contador in the opening day’s Prologue and followed that up with third place on Stage 1, putting him into the green points jersey, which he retained for three stages. The overall title was won by Team RadioShack’s Janez Brajkovič.