Now I knew that Gareth Bale and Sam Warburton went to school together, but I didn’t know this:
In pride of place on a corridor wall at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff can be found the most extraordinary collection of sporting memorabilia. There are medals, trophies and awards won by former pupils in everything from football, rugby, cricket and hockey to lawn bowls. There is a framed shirt worn by the captain of the British and Irish Lions, another by a serial winner of the Champions League, another by a Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
But even among such a jostling display of excellence, prominent space will be found should Geraint Thomas, another old boy, this weekend be awarded the most illustrious of all sporting outfits: the winner’s top from the Tour de France.
Not in the same year, though:
Thirteen pupils in one year group alone achieved international sporting recognition.
“It was crazy when you think about it,” says Kear of Whitchurch’s output. “I was in the same year as Sam Warburton and Gareth Bale. And Sam and I played in the same rugby team as Tom Maynard [the England Lions cricketer who died in tragic circumstances in 2012]. That was the team that won the Welsh Schools Cup.”
Thomas was in the year ahead of that group, already earmarked while at school as a cycling prodigy.
With luck, Geraint Thomas will finish today’s stage having retained the yellow jersey, with tomorrow’s procession into Paris a mere formality. I think I might have to wander up to the Arc de Triomphe and wave my Welsh flag as he goes by, don’t you?