Thomas in Tour’s white jersey, Wiggins gains precious time

Geraint Thomas came out on top in one of the Tour de France’s hardest stages today in Arenberg. He captured the white jersey of best young rider and sits second overall after finishing second from an elite escape group.

“It was a massive buzz going across the cobbles in the front group with Fabian Cancellara and Thor Hushovd and Cadel Evans – you don’t get any better group than that.”

Thomas made the elite group in sector four of seven, Sars-et-Rosières, when the crash of Fränk Schleck helped split the front group. He was encouraged by having Sky team-mate Steve Cummings further up the road. Cummings had escaped in an early break and dropped back to help Thomas.

“It was exactly what we planned for,” Cummings explained. “I gave ‘G’ a bottle and did a little turn for Brad.”

Brad Wiggins was just behind Thomas’ group, in a group with two-time Tour de France winner, Alberto Contador.

“I knew this morning,” said Wiggins, “that it was going to be those who went out there with a fighting mentality would come out the other side well today.

“It was carnage, but we knew it was going to be carnage, we’ve known for seven months. Fortunately, we ended up on the right side of it and we’re back in business.”

Thomas wanted to drop back and help Wiggins gain even more time on their rivals. However, Sky’s sports director, Sean Yates, told Thomas to push ahead for the stage and the white jersey.

It’s the first time for a Brit to pull on the white jersey since David Millar in 2000. Thomas, if he plays his cards correctly, can hold on to it for at least four more days, when the race hits the high mountains.

“I don’t know, anything can happen,” said Thomas. “But hopefully I should be in it for a while.”

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Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special