History was achieved on a tree-lined avenue in Paris at the weekend. And Wales plans to celebrate long into the summer
Forget the rugby, and even the football team’s heroics at Euro 2016.
“One of the standout sporting achievements in Welsh history,” is the official line on Geraint Thomas’ stunning Tour de France victory yesterday.
Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones was as overjoyed as the rest of Wales as the gruelling, three-week grand-tour cycle race concluded on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on Sunday evening. And he was happy to confirm that plans for official celebrations were afoot.
“I think it’s important that we think about what we can do to say thanks to Geraint for what he has done for Wales,” Jones added.
Cardiff boy Thomas is only the third Briton to win the race, and the first Welshman. “I’ve got to pinch myself,” he beamed as he carried a Welsh flag onto the podium to be crowned champion.
Wales was already celebrating on Saturday, when his triumph was all-but confirmed, with buildings lit up in the colour of the famous yellow jersey in Cardiff. While the Sunday saw hundreds of cyclists, many in yellow, taking part in a bike ride to Cardiff Castle from the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.
But that’s nothing compared to what can be expected over the coming days and weeks, according to 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.
"Buying a pint of milk will be different for him now,” says Wiggins. “He was well known in the cycling world, but the difference is now the general public will know him.
"He won't be able to walk down the street in Wales without people coming up to him. I don't think he ever imagined this would happen.”
Thomas himself says he’s looking forward to coming home and celebrating with everyone, but also enjoying a bit of normality. But mum Hilary thinks that may not be so easy.
“I don't think he really understands what he’s just done,” she told BBC Wales. “And he doesn't understand that the whole of Wales is behind him either.
"When he does come back home to Cardiff he is going to be shocked by what has just happened."
You may also like