Geraint Thomas is future Tour de France winner, says Shane Sutton

Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas is a future Tour de France winner, according to British Cycling's performance director.

Shane Sutton says the Welshman, 27, has what it takes to emulate fellow Brits Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome by winning cycling's premier road race.

"Geraint is in the prime position to lead his own team and become a future tour winner," said Australian Sutton.

Froome won the Tour de France in 2013, just a year after Wiggins had become the first British winner of the race.

Thomas, who won gold on the track at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, has already made his mark in the Tour de France, as well as the Giro d'Italia, another of the three big road races.

He also had a chance of winning this year's Paris-Nice stage race but crashed on the penultimate stage.

That race was his first time as Team Sky leader.

"Team Sky will become Geraint's team over time," said Sutton.

"It's just a matter of it evolving and him going away and getting the skills he needs, learning how to lead a team.

"It is probably three years in the making because Froomey is a very good bike rider and he is not going to go away for a while."

But Sutton added of Thomas: "He can time trial, he can descend, he can climb, he can sprint in small groups.

"He has the power and he has the engine to have everything that's needed to go out and win a Grand Tour."

Meanwhile, Thomas has announced he will ride in the British National Championships in Walesexternal-link in June.

He is expected to battle it out with Wiggins, Froome and reigning champion Mark Cavendish over the 116-mile course, which starts in Abergavenny and includes a number of punishing climbs.

Sutton thinks Thomas is "100% the favourite" for the race and says he has a big year ahead of him.

"When you are a big star in any field - rugby, athletics, whatever it is - there is a level of expectation," said Sutton.

"I expect something of him week-in and week-out."

But he added that this year could be bigger than most given the national championships are in Wales, this year's Tour de France starts in Yorkshire and that Thomas has become one of Team Sky's main men.

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