Geraint Thomas 2018: How the Tour de France win inspired a Welsh cycling fan

This week sees the publication of Geraint Thomas: How a Welshman won the Tour de France (Y Lolfa) – an amusing, passionate and informative celebration of cycling in general, the Tour de France in particular and of course Geraint Thomas’ win this summer – the first ever by a Welshman – by cycling enthusiast Phil Stead.

 

The book is aimed at people who may have watched a bit of the Tour on television, and wondered what it’s all about. You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy it, and much of the book includes my personal tales and anecdotes from the roadside. Hopefully, the stories and tips from my travels over the years will help people who fancy a trip to watch the Tour in France, but need some practical advice,” said Phil.

 

Phil Stead watched his first live Tour de France in 1994. During the past 25 years he has slept in a car on the Ventoux, frozen on the Col du Galibier and hitch-hiked to a time trial in Morzine. During this time, he thought he had seen it all. But he never thought he would see the events of this summer unfold. Summer 2018 saw Geraint Thomas take the yellow jersey against all expectations and journalist and writer Phil Stead was there to witness one of the greatest moments in the history of Welsh sport. This momentous occasion was the catalyst which prompted Phil to make a book he’d been half-planning for many years a reality.

 

I’d like to say that I’d always dreamed of seeing a Welshman win the Tour, but that wouldn’t be true. I’d dreamed of seeing a Welshman taking part one day, but to win it? That never even entered my head. A friend asked me at the start of this year’s race if Geraint could win the yellow jersey. ‘No’, I said. ‘That’s impossible.’ And there’s a part of me that still can’t believe it was possible,” said Phil Stead, when asked what seeing Geraint Thomas win the Tour de France meant to him.

 

Phil Stead’s Geraint Thomas: How a Welshman won the Tour de France is first and foremost a fan’s book, and in it Phil thanks Geraint Thomas for “making the unimaginable a reality”. As well as being an avid spectator, Phil also enjoys cycling himself and has struggled up the famous mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees on his mountain bike and ridden the Roubaix cobbles on a fold-up Brompton.

 

In the book Phil takes the Tour de France stage by stage, describing the landscape and the challenges it poses to the riders, and recalling anecdotes from over the years.

 

Hopefully some of my passion for the sport and the Tour de France comes across. The book also look in detail at the 2018 Tour, and I analyse in simple terms how Geraint managed to win it. And of course, I describe how amazing it was to be out there when he did.”