CHEPSTOW cyclist Geraint Thomas will head into the Tour of Italy this week buoyed by becoming the first British rider to ever win the Tour of the Alps.
Team Sky’s Thomas, who owns the Italian-style St Tewdric’s House villa in the Wye Valley town, claimed the title by seven seconds after finishing third in the fifth and final stage.
France’s Thibaut Pinot, who won the final stage, finished second overall with Domenico Pozzovivo of Italy third.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Thomas, 30, who came into the final stage with a 13-second lead on Pinot, held on despite numerous attacks to win his first stage race of 2017.
The veteran of seven Tour de France races will lead the Team Sky team at the three-week long Giro d-Italia (Tour of Italy) – one of the world’s most prestigious cycling events – when it starts this Friday, May 5.
He said: "The Tour of the Alps is a beautiful and hard race, and now I feel it was certainly the ideal choice to race it ahead of the Giro d’Italia.”
Sadly, less than 24 hours after being crowned Alps champion, Thomas learnt of the tragic death of race rival Michele Scarponi in a training ride.
Scarponi was due to lead the Astana team in the Giro, and Thomas tweeted: “Devastated to hear the news about Scarponi. Can’t believe it. My thoughts with all his friends, family and team."
Stay in touch with Geraint’s progress in the Giro at www.giroditalia.it/eng/