Geraint Thomas says Tour de France exclusion has given him ‘new lease of life’

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Geraint Thomas is raring to go again - Getty ImagesGeraint Thomas is raring to go again - Getty Images
Geraint Thomas is raring to go again – Getty Images
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Geraint Thomas says he is “not trying to prove anything to anyone” as he prepares to ride in the world time trial championships in Italy on Friday. The Welshman added that his controversial exclusion from Ineos’ recent Tour de France squad had in fact given him a “new lease of life”.” data-reactid=”17″>Geraint Thomas says he is “not trying to prove anything to anyone” as he prepares to ride in the world time trial championships in Italy on Friday. The Welshman added that his controversial exclusion from Ineos’ recent Tour de France squad had in fact given him a “new lease of life”.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Thomas, 34, was a surprise omission from Ineos Grenadiers’ eight-man team for the recent Tour after struggling in the warm-up races. The British squad went on to have a disappointing race, with leader and defending champion Egan Bernal abandoning in the final week.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”18″>Thomas, 34, was a surprise omission from Ineos Grenadiers’ eight-man team for the recent Tour after struggling in the warm-up races. The British squad went on to have a disappointing race, with leader and defending champion Egan Bernal abandoning in the final week. 

Some pundits, notably Sir Bradley Wiggins, claimed Thomas’s presence in France would have “changed the whole dynamic of the team”, arguing that even had the 2018 winner not been at the sharp end of the race himself, he might have helped relieve Bernal of some pressure.

But Thomas, speaking ahead of Friday’s 31.7km time trial in Imola, refused to criticise Ineos principal Sir Dave Brailsford, insisting the decision was a joint one between them both and adding that it had given him “newfound impetus”, with his sights now firmly set on the Giro d’Italia which begins in Sicily a week on Saturday.

“It’s not about proving anything to anyone,” he said. “It [the Tour] was a decision that Dave and myself made together after the Criterium du Dauphine. It actually gave me a new lease of life as well. 

“To be honest I was over [the Tour] pretty quickly. The initial disappointment was more that it was just the first real time I’d not hit my target for the year. I knew I wasn’t in the shape to challenge for the win, that was the disappointing thing. 

“But I could have an easy week, go back to Cardiff and see my son and switch off for a few days and then get back into it and build up to the Giro. 

“As soon as I was back out in Monaco and starting the whole Giro project I was motivated and good to go then. It gave me a bit of new impetus.”

Thomas has since rediscovered a bit of form, finishing runner-up to fellow Briton Simon Yates [Mitchelton-Scott] at Tirreno-Adriatico a couple of weeks ago. 

“I think I was a bit lighter,” he replied when asked what had changed between the Dauphine and Tirreno-Adriatico. “After the Dauphine I went on a strict sort of regime really. I worked with the nutritionist. The team were telling me how much pasta, protein and veg to have. I was just doing long easy rides. Six-, seven-hour rides. That helped just shift a bit of the weight and that’s made the biggest difference really. The power was decent in the Dauphine, I was just running a little heavy early on.” 

He added: “When you’re not really going great as well, mentally you’re just a bit not quite there. Come Tirreno I went in there as leader and was feeling better on the bike and suddenly rather than a downward spiral, you’re riding the crest of a wave.”

Thomas, one of the strongest riders in the world against the clock, said he hoped to be “there or thereabouts” in Friday’s 31.7km time trial which is on a “pan-flat” course in Imola.

 “I would have liked a more undulating course ideally,” he said. “[Italy’s] Filippo Ganna and [Australia’s defending champion] Rohan Dennis, for sure, I’d say, are the favourites. But also [Holland’s] Tom Dumoulin and [Belgium’s] Wout Van Aert. Both of them had a big Tour, but they haven’t been racing to the finish line every day and I think they’ll probably come out of it OK.”

Thomas also flagged Switzerland’s European time trial champion Stefan Kung and Belgium’s hour record holder Victor Campanaerts as ones to watch.

“Obviously I am going to give it everything I’ve got and try to get the best result possible,” he concluded. “But yeah, we’ll see. It’s strange as it’s the first TT I’ve done outside of a stage race … I’ve done nationals twice, maybe, and the Olympics once. It’s different but it’ll definitely help for the Giro as well [where there are three individual time trial stages].”