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Geraint Thomas's wife Sara talks about his nerves before the Tour de France ... and his tears after his win

Team Sky star admits it's not just winning the yellow jersey makes him blub - Braveheart and Gladiator had him in floods too...

Geraint Thomas’s wife Sara has been speaking about his nerves before this year’s Tour de France … and his tears after he won the race to become the third Briton, and first Welshman, to claim the yellow jersey.

Speaking to BBC Sport after her husband was named Sports Personality of the Year 2018 on Sunday, Sara – who has previously reported on the Tour de France for Welsh language channel S4C – spoke of her husband’s state of mind in the build-up to the race

 "I saw a change in Geraint in the last week before the Tour," she revealed. "He just wen.t really quiet, and he worried about things.

"On the Tuesday night before the race began, we were still at home in Cardiff. It was so hot that summer, and I woke up at 4am, and he wasn't there.

"I went looking for him. I walked downstairs, and he was asleep on the lounge floor. I asked him what he was doing. 'Yeah yeah, it's just cooler down here, I'll get better sleep.'

"He was on edge. I said to him, I love you, and I love having you around, but you need to go. You're ready."

That Tuesday was the day after four-time winner – and Thomas’s Team Sky colleague – Chris Froome was cleared to take part in the race after it was confirmed that the case against him following his adverse analytical finding for an excessive amount of the anti-asthma drug clenbuterol had been closed.

Thomas himself said that he believed he went into the race with an advantage over his team-mate, saying: "Deep down I knew I was in better form than Froomey, because I'd been with him years previously, and I could just tell," he says.

"I was that edge above him, in a really good place, physically and mentally. So when you hear people doubting you, you think, what do I care?"

The 34-year-old’s victory was all but assured when – a slight wobble on a corner aside – he successfully negotiated the penultimate day’s time trial, and the sight of him being embraced by Sara, who had flown out the previous evening, as he crossed the line is one of the abiding images of this year’s race.

Interviewed on live television immediately afterwards, Thomas broke down in tears as the magnitude of his achievement dawned on him.

"I knew he would," his wife revealed. "He did at our wedding, for hours, and like the wedding he hadn't thought about it – about the end, about the win, about Paris.

"That's why it hit him like it did. All of a sudden that was it."

Thomas himself still seems a bit miffed about being caught on film that way.

"The television cameraman who was filming me when I was crying, he didn't have to film me for that long, did he? He milked that,” he said.

"Even the guy interviewing me asked me two extra questions that he knew I couldn't answer because I was crying. It just overwhelmed me.”

There are only a handful of people in the world who have experienced the emotion of realising that they have won the Tour de France, of course.

But Thomas revealed that he also gets soppy about stuff that many of us can relate to.

"It's not just my wedding and the Tour that's done it, either,” he said. “The end of Braveheart. And Gladiator. 'Who will help me carry him?' That's what cracked me then.”

"Just go to pick him up and have other people help you. Don't ask, 'Who will help me carry him?' Oh man. Why did they have to say that?"

Simon joined 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.

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