Sport is about marginal gains, and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) arguably missed out during the opening stage of the Tour de France after accidentally racing the time trial with a gilet on - an error branded an "enormous waste" on The Breakaway.
In horrible conditions for the Grand Depart in Copenhagen, Thomas had a gilet on to keep warm prior to getting on the start ramp. But he forgot he had it on until it was too late, and had to race the 13.2km with the aero-sapping jacket on.
Thomas came home in 18th, 25 seconds adrift of winner Yves Lampaert, and showed immense composure on TV to avoid swearing when recounting his woes to Eurosport, instead opting for "blinking gilet".
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"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," he said.
“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.”
The Eurosport studio speculated that the Ineos skinsuits, which are designed to allow the riders to cut through the air, cost in the region of £5,000.
"I think they’re roughly around £5000 per skinsuit so it’s an enormous amount of money, but it’s an enormous waste almost," said Adam Blythe on The Breakaway.
"He’s obviously not meant to do it, it’s just a mistake."
Thomas makes gilet confession after time trial at Tour de France
The 2018 champion has form for crashing, so staying upright in treacherous conditions was a positive.
However, he admitted that he struggled for momentum as team staff urged him to take it easy on slippery tarmac that saw one rider crash twice.
“The first half of that I think was the worst cornering I’ve ever done in a TT,” Thomas said. “When everyone is saying take it easy, don’t take risks, I just did not flow at all. It just felt so bitty and stop-start.
"When I heard the time-check, 18 seconds down on (Mathieu) Van der Poel, I was like ‘sod it, let’s just race.’ And then I went better.
Robbie McEwen questioned Thomas' approach but said the Welshman could still be content with his performance.
"It seems his mindset wasn’t quite right," said 12-time stage winner McEwen.
"If you’re in the wrong mindset of going out just being safe, just being a little bit cautious, then you’re not thinking your way through everything like you normally would.
"Then his mind was wandering, he left his gilet on, he’s out there trying to be cautious and then finding out he’s losing time. So he just said to himself, 'righto, back to my usual plan, I‘m just going to race' and he came home really well. I think overall he can be satisfied with how he started this tour."
- Froome is the ‘greatest Tour de France rider of generation’ – Wiggins
- Shock as Lampaert bumps Van Aert off top spot
- ‘I forgot I had it on!’ – Thomas accidentally wears gilet over expensive skinsuit
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Stream the Tour de France live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
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