Geraint Thomas Climbs to Third as Tom-Jelte Slagter Wins the Tour Down Under

Will ProtheroeContributor IIIJanuary 27, 2013

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 27: Winning riders (L-R) Geraint Thomas of Great Britain and team Sky Procycling (third), Tom Jelte Slagter of the Netherlands and the Blanco Pro Cycling Team (first) and Javier Moreno Bazan of Spain and the Movistar Team (second) celebrate on stage after stage six of the Tour Down Under on January 27, 2013 in Adelaide, Australia.
Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas enjoyed a strong final stage to jump from fifth to third overall in the Tour Down Under on Sunday.

Thomas has been in excellent form all week, leading the overall standings for much of the race. However, Saturday's stage to Old Willunga Hill lost the Welshman 25 seconds, and he slipped to fifth.

After winning one intermediate sprint and coming third in another to gain four seconds, Thomas managed to drag himself up to a fine third place in one of the season's first big races.

Tom-Jelte Slagter will go home the happiest, though, after taking the biggest win of his career. The Dutchman, 23, showed his class in Stage 5, pouncing on a struggling Thomas and shooting off down the road in the final stages of the climb to finish second on the day and first overall. That left him with nothing to do but stay out of trouble on Sunday to take home the victory

His victory will mean a lot to the Blanco team, which lost long-term sponsor Rabobank last season. The Dutch bank had been involved in the sport for 30 years, but pulled out over concerns that the sport could be seen as dirty from doping. 

Slagter's teammate, Mark Renshaw, riding in his home race, made an early bid for glory in the final stage, but the hard work of Team Lotto brought things together and Andre Greipel powered home to take his third stage of the race.

The German has enjoyed a fine start to the year. His hat trick of stage wins added to the People's Choice Classic that he won last weekend. Sunday's victory was also the 100th win of his career.

Movistar's Javier Moreno rounded out the final podium between Slagter and Thomas, finishing 17 seconds adrift of the Dutchman.

Hopefully, with cycling back, we can concentrate more on the racing and less on the scandals...but somehow I doubt it.


The Top Five Overall

1. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned/Blanco) 18:28:32"

2. Javier Moreno (Spa/Movistar) +17"

3. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +25"

4. Jon Izagirre (Spa/Euskaltel) +32"

5. Ben Hermans (Bel/RadioShack) +34"