Sir Dave Brailsford says that Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France win, which will be confirmed in Paris later today, should not be considered a shock.
The Team Sky principal, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportwseek, said that it had been the plan all along for the 32-year-old to be in the best condition possible this month.
"In December we decided his season should be based around peaking in July,” Brailsford explained. “He did it perfectly."
Thomas, whose two back-to-back stage victories in the Alps halfway through the race helped set up his victory, punched the air as he crossed the line at the end of yesterday’s individual time trial with his overall win set to be confirmed after today’s procession into Paris.
"It couldn't have climaxed in a more emotional way,” Brailsford said. “It seemed like such a long race and on a knife edge for the last few days and then all the emotion came out."
The Team Sky boss said that the riders had “strict orders” not to drink alcohol yesterday evening – they were, however "allowed a burger" – but added, "there is no way that curfew can survive tonight.
"His next race is meant to be on Saturday but I've had so many texts and calls saying how many Welsh people are coming to Paris that I fear he might not make it.
"He's like the guy next door – nobody has a bad word to say about him. You couldn't find a prouder Welshman
"When he's on the bike he makes the sacrifices but when he's not, he's the life and soul of the party.
"And like most Welshmen, he likes to have a pint and start singing."
Brailsford said that Thomas’s victory at the Criterium du Dauphiné last month showed that he was in top form going into the Tour de France.
"It was probably his biggest win in a stage race up to that point and it set him up perfectly,” he said.
"Psychologically he went into the Tour with great self-confidence and a quiet assuredness and he just quietly went about his business, chipped off every day and then found himself in the yellow jersey."
Defending champion Chris Froome was only cleared to race on the Monday before the Tour de France started when the UCI closed the case relating to his adverse analytical finding for an excessive amount of salbutamol at last year’s Vuelta.
Organisers ASO had earlier planned to exclude him from the race while the case was ongoing, but he took to the start line in the Vendée on 7 July.
A crash on the opening stage cost him time he was never able to make up and as the race headed into the final week, Team Sky’s focus switched to supporting race leader Thomas.
"We had two leaders – Chris was the actual leader, Geraint the protected second leader – and the moment it dawned on him that he wasn't going to win, Chris immediately switched to supporting Geraint,” Brailsford explained.
"All the focus was on Chris and that let Geraint just get on with his business and when the pressure did come he had Chris at his side, and he supported him with such grace that it gave him a calmness that helped him through," he added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.