Geraint Thomas
Thomas secured his first stage victory in Dusseldorf. Getty Images

Geraint Thomas' Tour de France 2017 campaign started in victorious fashion after the Team Sky rider recorded an impressive time of 16 minutes and four seconds to secure the yellow jersey at the opening time trial in Dusseldorf on Saturday (1 July.)

Thomas, who had never won a stage in any of his previous seven tours, managed to overcome the pouring rain in Germany to clock a rather impressive time, finishing two seconds ahead of fellow Team Sky rider Vasil Kiryienka and five ahead of Stefan Keung.

Chris Froome, the favourite ahead of the start of the tour, was 12 seconds slower than Thomas but managed to place himself in sixth heading into the second stage on Sunday.

Thomas, who took to social media to showcase his happiness over the British and Irish Lions' 24-21 victory over New Zealand in Wellington just hours earlier, was understandably overjoyed by his performance.

"It is unreal, it is the start of my eighth tour and it is my first stage win. I didn't even dream of this last night. Wow, it is unbelievable, I am lost for words.," the Welshman was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.

"I have a tendency to go out hard but I am getting older now and learning to pace myself. It couldn't have gone any better."

Thomas was riding the crest of a wave but the unfortunate Movistar rider Alejandro Valverde found himself in the depths of despair. The Spaniard, one of the dark horses in the build-up to the tour, suffered a heavy crash after misjudging a corner and slipping on the rain-soaked track. The teammate of Nairo Quintana, one of Froome's main rivals, was taken to hospital for treatment with his dreams of winning the yellow jersey in ruins.