AP

Geraint Thomas stays with Team Sky after Tour de France title

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LONDON (AP) — Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas has ended speculation over his future by signing a new three-year contract with Team Sky.

The 32-year-old Thomas, whose previous deal was set to expire at the end of 2018, had been the subject of interest from other teams.

However, the Welshman has decided to stay with the British team and is now contracted through to the 2021 season.

“I’m pleased it’s sorted and delighted to be staying with the team,” Thomas told Team Sky. “It’s working really well for me here and I’m excited about what’s still to come.”

Thomas, who picked up Olympic gold medals in team pursuit in 2008 and 2012, finally triumphed at this year’s Tour de France, having spent much of his career playing a supporting role to the likes of former champions Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.

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Jan Ullrich, Tour de France winner, arrested over alleged attack

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BERLIN (AP) — Tour de France and Olympic champion Jan Ullrich was arrested early Friday and is in police custody for allegedly attacking an escort at a Frankfurt hotel.

Police spokesperson Carina Lerch said the retired German cyclist was arrested after police were called to the hotel. She said Ullrich was under the influence of drugs and alcohol and could be charged with “assault or attempted murder.”

“It seems Mr. Ullrich and an escort women had a dispute and that he attacked her,” Lerch said. “She alerted the hotel staff and they called police. Mr. Ullrich is still in custody.”

A police statement said the woman needed medical treatment. Lerch said no further details could be given on her condition while police were investigating.

News agency DPA reported that the 44-year-old Ullrich had been arrested the week before in Mallorca, where he lives, after an incident on the property of his neighbor, actor Til Schweiger.

On Monday, Ullrich had told German tabloid Bild of personal problems.

“The separation from Sara and distance from my children, whom I have not seen since Easter and have barely spoken to, have had a great effect on me. I have done things as a result that I very much regret,” Ullrich told the mass circulation daily.

Ullrich, the only German to win the Tour de France, was dogged by doping allegations over his career and admitted to German magazine Focus in 2013 that he received blood-doping treatment from Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

“Almost everyone took performance-enhancing substances then. I took nothing that the others didn’t also take,” the 1997 Tour champion said then.

Ullrich, who earned gold and silver medals at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, served a two-year ban for doping in 2012, five years after he retired in 2007.

MORE: Ullrich does not intend to return Olympic medals

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Gracious in defeat, Chris Froome to aim again at Tour de France glory

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PARIS (AP) — Sitting alone and unnoticed behind a giant board during the Tour de France winner’s news conference, Chris Froome patiently listened to Geraint Thomas’s answers.

It was an unfamiliar position for Froome, who for the first time in four years did not occupy the podium’s first place at cycling’s biggest race on Sunday.

Froome, who failed in his bid to win the Tour for a record-equaling fifth time, ended the race in third place, 2 minutes, 24 seconds behind his team Sky teammate Thomas. The 33-year-old Froome also came short in his attempt to win both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in the same season, but there was no hard feeling.

“After he won the Giro, Chris came here to win the race, that’s for sure,” Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said. “He did not come here to be third on the podium. But when he realized Geraint was the strongest, he did not start sulking at the back of the bus. Not at all. He said: ‘I will now ride as a teammate and I’ll do my best for Geraint and the team because of all the work you did for me over the past years’.”

Froome was subjected to abuse by some fans on the roads of France this summer after being cleared of a doping case only days before the start. He said he was repeatedly spat at and that spectators punched him and tried to make him fall off his bike.

He crashed in the opening stage — not because of fans — and lost 51 seconds, and he hit the ground again on the cobbled stage in northern France. Froome’s fate was sealed in the Pyrenees, where he was dropped by his rivals during Stage 17 to the Col du Portet, but still managed to snatch a place on the tour podium with an impressive effort in the final time trial.

“I’ve had quite a few emotions throughout this race, moments of disappointment, crashing, moments of joy when we’ve won stages and taken the yellow jersey,” said Froome, who rode the whole season under the cloud of a possible suspension. “That’s bike racing. Like any Grand Tour, this has been a roller coaster with ups and downs.”

Froome has been the dominant Grand Tour rider in recent years and started as the race’s favorite once again, only to be eclipsed by Thomas.

Despite his failure, Froome still believes a double Tour-Giro remains possible. Only seven riders have done it, and the last to achieve the feat was the late Marco Pantani in 1998. This season, Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin also competed at both races and finished second at both.

“Interesting that you mentioned Tom as well, for him to be second in both Grand Tours, I think that it shows it is possible to do both of the races at a really high level, which only leads me to believe it is possible to do both of them,” Froome said.

Froome did not reveal whether he would try again for the double next year. It’s more likely he will focus on the Tour solely to match the record of five wins shared by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

“I really don’t believe Chris is on a downhill trend,” Brailsford said. “It was just a blip. He went through an extremely difficult time and still won the Giro. He was obviously disappointed here, but he was dignified throughout. There is no doubt he wants to win a fifth Tour and I believe it’s possible.”

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