Tom Gloag was able to see the funny side after nearly taking a tumble in front of cycling royalty at the Tour de l’Avenir (opens in new tab).
The 20-year-old Briton won stage four of the ‘Tour of the Future’ in breath-taking style, taking the overall lead in the process. After realising the significance of what he had achieved, the 20-year-old climbed the stairs to the podium to be handed the yellow jersey, although he very nearly made quite a dramatic entrance.
Five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault was waiting on the podium for Gloag, however the British rider explained to Cycling Weekly that he fortunately managed to avoid an embarrassing first meeting with the great champion.
“I nearly fell over on the stairs up to the podium, which made him [Hinault] laugh,” said Gloag, “not many words of wisdom were exchanged after that,” he added.
Prior to his podium encounter with Hinault, Gloag celebrated a remarkable stage win, marking quite the turnaround for the Londoner.
Gloag was third overall at last year’s edition of the U23 race before a nasty crash forced him to abandon.
The 20-year-old explained that an unusual racing scenario provided him with a chance to show off his talents which have already been recognised by Jumbo-Visma, who signed him this year.
Gloag said: “It was one of those situations where I just had a lot of stuff going my way, it was definitely a case of the right place at the right time. The plan was to go all in yesterday for Sam [Watson] and he really looked like the guy nailed on to do something.
“I was just following a move 50km in that happened to stick but I wanted it all to come back together as I felt I was never going to win from that move. The finishing circuits were really tough in the rain, so when the others opened up their sprints early I just went for it and managed to grab the win.”
Despite allowing himself to enjoy the moment after the disappointment of last year, Gloag admitted that taking the overall lead at this stage was far from ideal with the mountains still to come.
He added: “Yeah, you’d ideally want it a bit later, although to be honest, I’m just going to enjoy wearing the jersey at such a special race. We’ll then see what the next few days have in store.”
Going into stage five, Gloag explained that although he’s in the driving seat the original plan of a two-pronged attack with Leo Hayter still stands.
Gloag concluded, “Leo is still very much in contention here and his results recently just speak for themselves. It’s still very much a dual leadership and we’ve got Sam [Watson] here too. He’s definitely got a shot at tomorrow’s stage and we’ve still got multiple cards to play.”