Geraint Thomas confessed he forgot to take off his gilet for the opening stage time trial at the 2022 Tour de France.
The Welshman, bidding for a second Tour title after his 2018 heroics, put himself at a big disadvantage after rolling down the starting ramp still wrapped up in his the aero-sapping jacket.
The 36-year-old was left frustrated at the finish after revealing to Eurosport he had also struggled for rhythm on the 13.2km run around the wet roads of Copenhagen.
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Asked if he was happy with his ride, Thomas replied: “No, not really. The first half of that I think was the worst cornering I’ve ever done in a TT.
“When everyone’s talking to you – ‘take it easy, don’t take risks’ – I just didn’t flow at all. The main thing for me is just flow. You don’t have to go fast but you have a nice smooth line, you’re flowing with it, carrying your speed and it’s all nice and smooth.
“I just felt so bitty and stop-start. Then when I heard the time check, I was like 18” down on Van der Poel, that’s when I was like ‘oh sod it, forget about what everyone’s saying about taking it easy and just race’. And then I went better.”
Thomas can at least take solace from the fact he still came home firmly in the GC picture, albeit behind pre-race favourites Tadej Pogacar (18” ahead) and Primoz Roglic (9”).
He admitted he was rattled after noticing he was riding in his "blinking gilet", which was covering his specially-crafted Ineos skinsuit.

Geraint Thomas in his gilet

Image credit: Getty Images

“The legs were good anyway. It’s just a shame about the start of it. And then that blinking gilet!" he continued.
“Ah mate. Because I zipped it up it was all nice and snug, totally forgot I had it on, nobody spotted it at the start. Oh, that was cracking me a bit as well.
“I did think about taking it off [mid-race] but that would be a bit dodgy as well. It’s one of them. But the main thing is the legs were good.”
Thomas became just the second rider in history to claim career wins at the Tour de Suisse, Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de France with victory in Switzerland last month.
It has fuelled hopes he can make a surprise challenge at the Tour, with the Welshman fighting for leadership duties at Ineos alongside Adam Yates and Dani Martinez.
“I felt really good to be fair once I was just going on in a straight line, I felt like I had a bit of power,” added Thomas.
“Mentally that’s probably the toughest TT I’ve done to stay focused but that’s the way it is.”
This year’s Tour marks the 10th anniversary since Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour to signal a new era of domination from Team Sky (now Ineos Grenadiers).
But with the emergence of Slovenian superstars Pogacar, a two-time Tour champion, and Roglic, Ineos and Thomas have a huge fight to get back into yellow.
“I can understand why he’d be so annoyed, just looking down and thinking ‘I’ve got my gilet on still, for goodness sake’,” said Dan Lloyd on Eurosport commentary.
“All the GC riders will be told that same thing: the most important thing is you don’t crash out of the Tour on day one.
“But it can get into your head, you spend too much time thinking ‘be careful, be careful’ and you’re losing a second or two in every corner. That starts to add up.
“I think all in all, he’ll look back at his day’s ride and think ‘that’s a decent time that I pulled out there, considering I wasn’t very aero with my clothing and I lost a lot of time on cornering in the first half’.”
Meanwhile, Robbie McEwen suggested Ineos might be a bit disgruntled by the mistake. “So much for the £3500 skinsuit!,” he joked.
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