Olympic24: Thomas leads British charge at Paris-Nice

Olympic24: Thomas leads British charge at Paris-Nice

11 March 2015 / 08:00

Geraint Thomas puts in another solid showing on stage two of Paris-Nice, while Neil Black looks forward to the battle of Britain’s hepathletes. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Geraint Thomas forms part of breakaway group before eventually coming home in the peleton to retain tenth spot in Paris-Nice.
  • Victory goes to Andre Greipel, although it does not prove such a good day for Sir Bradley Wiggins who loses time to drop to 99th.
  • Neil Black predicts magical time ahead with Jessica Ennis-Hill, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake all set to do battle in coming months
  • Yarnold admits defending her Olympic time is a major target
  • Charlotte Gilmartin confident a newly relaxed racing approach will pay off at this week’s World Short Track Speed Skating Championships

Thomas highest placed Brit after stage two of Paris-Nice

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas retained tenth place in the Paris-Nice as Andre Greipel took victory in a sprint finish to stage two.

Welshman Thomas had enjoyed a solid outing on the opening day on Monday, finishing as the highest-placed Brit.

And he was up at the front of the pack again for the 172km journey from Saint-Aignan to Saint-Amand-Montrond, forming part of a three man break with Tony Martin and Lars Boom 9.4 kilometres from home.

They would eventually be caught, leaving Greipel to win a frantic sprint finish while Thomas came home safely in the peleton.

It leaves Thomas tenth, 13 seconds adrift of overall leader Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland, while Sir Bradley Wiggins is 99th after dropping back to 42 seconds off the pace.

Black excited about future battles between Britain’s heptathletes

British Athletics performance director Neil Black admits he is licking his lips about the prospect of seeing Britain’s top heptathletes go head-to-head in the coming years.

Last weekend Katarina Johnson-Thompson secured her first senior international title when she won pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships in Prague.

Her score of 5,000 points was just 13 points shy of the world record while she broke Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill’s British record in the process.

The pair are set to compete against each other in the heptathlon at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria at the end of the May with Ennis-Hill making her return to action following the birth of her first child.

Great Britain have plenty of strength in depth when it comes to women's multi-eventing too, with 17-year-old Morgan Lake breaking Johnson-Thompson's British junior pentathlon record in Prague, leaving Black excited for what is to come.

"To think that they're all going to be hopefully in Gotzis and they're all hopefully going to be at the World Championships this year and the Olympics next year, it's just a kind of magical time," he said.

"And what comes from it is going to be spectacular.

"Three incredibly capable, high-performing (athletes), lovely personalities, great teams around them, all vying for medals in competitions - I can't see that you can get much more exciting than that."

Rest the main priority for newly crowned world champion Yarnold

Lizzy Yarnold admits the main priority will be on enjoying some well earned rest before she starts plotting her Olympic skeleton defence at Pyeongchang.

Yarnold completed a career grand slam last weekend as she won her first ever World Championships in Winterberg.

She had already claimed the European title earlier this season while last year saw her do the World Cup and Olympic double.

But with the chance of making further history as the first woman to defend an Olympic skeleton title, the 26-year-old admits there is still plenty to keep her occupied.

"No-one has ever done that before (defended an Olympic skeleton title) and it would be an amazing achievement if I could do that,” she said.

"It's been a really tough year or few years, so I need a rest and then I can come back stronger.”

© Sportsbeat 2015

Newly-relaxed Gilmartin ready to leave mark at World Champs

Charlotte Gilmartin is confident it will not be long before she is challenging the best skaters on a more regular basis after starting to get to grips with her pre-race nerves.

The 25-year-old Olympian is currently gearing up for the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships which get underway in Moscow on Friday.

And she believes a newly relaxed attitude is starting to pay dividends.

"I used to shake so much on the start-line that the starter would smirk at me because he knew what I was going through, and the nerves could get quite overwhelming so I realised it was time to remember why I started skating in the first place,” she said.

"Things have really improved since and my seventh place in the Europeans is evidence of that. The results are coming and I really feel like I'm on the brink of breaking into that top eight area from which anyone in our sport is capable of winning a medal."

© Sportsbeat 2015