July 28, 2018 / 4:49 PM / 2 years ago

Dumoulin wins Stage 20, but Thomas all but seals TDF title

Tom Dumoulin won Saturday’s 31-kilometer (19.3-mile) time trial at the Tour de France, but overall leader Geraint Thomas maintained nearly a two-minute lead as he heads into Sunday’s final stage as the presumptive winner.

Cycling - Tour de France - The 31-km Stage 20 Individual Time Trial from Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle to Espelette - July 28, 2018 - Team Sunweb rider Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands celebrates his stage win. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

With a lead of one minute, 51 seconds over Dumoulin, Thomas can cruise through Sunday’s final stage into Paris to claim the crown.

He’ll become the third British rider to win the title.

“I can’t believe it,” an emotional Thomas said afterward. “I’m welling up. I don’t know what to say. It is just overwhelming. I didn’t think about it all race and suddenly I won the Tour.”

He burst into tears after an embrace with Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford.

“The last time I cried was when I got married — I don’t know what has happened to me,” Thomas said.

Four-time defending champ Chris Froome, Thomas’ teammate on Team Sky, sits in third place, two minutes and 24 seconds behind. Froome did manage to jump Stage 19 winner Primoz Roglic in the standings after Saturday’s time trial.

Dumoulin, of Team Sunweb, finished Saturday’s stage in 40 minutes, 52 seconds — one second ahead of Froome and 14 seconds ahead of Thomas, who entered the day with a cushion of more than two minutes.

“I was so nervous,” said Dumoulin. “I had no idea of splits and thought Chris Froome was a second quicker than me. I had such a hard time yesterday and all the frustration came out after the finish. I cannot believe this. It’s amazing.”

Sunday’s final day ends with the ride into Paris.

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