Geraint Thomas says it feels good to finally break his winning duck, taking his first victory since the 2018 Tour de France with the overall title at the 2021 Tour de Romandie.
The Welshman said he was initially angry after his slip at the end of stage four gifted Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) the race lead and stage win, but his superior time trial performance on the final stage five ensured he'd be on the podium in the yellow jersey.
"I'm very happy, especially after the little mishap yesterday, which wasn't ideal. Definitely made it more of a challenge today," Geraint Thomas said after the stage.
"I felt good. It kind of reminded me of when I won the Tour back in Espelette [stage 20 time trial], it was a similar sort of stage, the last TT was kind of like this, and the last descent the team were just telling me to take it easy, just don't do anything stupid, don't crash on the corners.
"And obviously you overthink it a little bit then...but no I'm really happy to finish it off. It's been a great week with the team."
Thomas was level-pegging with stage five winner Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) at the intermediate time check, but eased off in order to not risk the overall victory, finishing third on the stage, 17 seconds off the French national time trial champion's fastest time.
"It was all about trying to take the jersey and get around safely," Thomas explained. "Obviously I'd have loved to go for the stage but that last descent was a bit wet so it was just taking it steady and finish the stage rather than risk it all."
While Thomas is glad to have won Romandie, it's all about this summer's Tour de France for the Ineos rider, where he will try and double up on his 2018 yellow jersey. Nevertheless, he's happy that he's come into form two months before the Grand Départ.
"I knew I was going well, I've done a lot of hard work, spent a lot of time away from the family so I wanted to make it worthwhile and I've certainly done that," Thomas said.
"At the start of the year I said my goal was the Tour and every race was a build-up to it, didn't really put any pressure on myself to perform early, but it seems we've come into some good shape pretty soon and we've had a lot of good races building up.
"Obviously Catalunya was really good for the team, I was third there behind two team-mates so I knew I was going well. Myself and Richie [Porte] came here knowing we wanted to win with one of us, and with first and second you can't complain."
Thomas doesn't see this first victory since that 2018 Tour campaign as any sort of rejuvenation, however, providing the reminder that he has been on the podium at significant races since that victory three years ago.
"It's not like I haven't performed since I won the Tour," Thomas added. "I was second in the Tour , second in Tirreno-Adriatico , third at Catalunya , I've been up there. But it's nice to finally get the win, break that sort of duck."
Relaxed after taking the win, Thomas said he was initially angry following his stage four crash, but the affable Welshman admitted that in those situations it's better to laugh than cry.
"I definitely wasn't laughing the first hour or two [after the stage], I was pretty angry," Thomas admitted. "But once you've settled in you've just got to laugh or cry, and it's a lot better to laugh.
"It was really unfortunate, as I went to change gear I could feel I wasn't gripping the bars properly and as soon as I got out of the saddle hand came off and I was on the deck. You've just got to laugh haven't you."
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