Category: Geraint Thomas

Thomas: Wiggins’s Armstrong comments are “publicity seeking”


SHANGHAI (AFP) — Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas accused Bradley Wiggins of trying to drum up publicity on Saturday with his controversial comments about drug cheat Lance Armstrong.

Former Tour winner and five-time Olympic champion Wiggins came under fire earlier this month after including the disgraced Armstrong in his new book, “Icons”.

Wiggins, who retired from cycling in December 2016, also called Armstrong the “perfect” Tour de France rider, while conceding that many people would disagree.

The 38-year-old was widely condemned for his appraisal of Armstrong, the American who was stripped of his seven Tour titles and banned from cycling for life in 2012.

Thomas, who rode with Wiggins for Britain and Team Sky, told AFP after finishing second in the Tour’s Shanghai Criterium that he did not share the opinion of his former team-mate.

“Brad’s got a book to sell,” said Thomas, the 32-year-old who became the first Welshman to win the Tour de France when he triumphed in cycling’s most prestigious race in July.

“He does not have to worry about anything, either. He does not have to race his bike and deal with journalists.

“He can just say what he wants and do any interview he wants so he can say something like that and get a load of publicity.”

David Lappartient, president of cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, called Wiggins’s description of Armstrong “unbelievable” and “strange”.

Wiggins, who launched his book this month, was quoted by the BBC as saying that he was not “praising” Armstrong. “I’m not condoning for one minute what Lance did,” Wiggins said.

A little of the gloss was taken off Thomas’s Tour victory when his trophy was stolen after being displayed at a cycle show in Britain. Police launched an investigation but, nearly two months on, have not found it.

Armstrong cheekily tweeted in response to the theft: “G – bummer, dude. I got 7 of em if you wanna borrow one.”

Thomas – known as “G” in the cycling world – gives that short shrift. “No, I’ll leave that I think,” said the unimpressed Team Sky rider, who was beaten into second in Shanghai by Peter Sagan of Slovakia.

Thomas, whose triumph this summer propelled him into the sporting limelight, said that he was “working on getting a replacement one [trophy]”. The theft was “frustrating and disappointing”.

“But at the same time, I’ve got all the memories and the yellow jersey at home,” he said. “But it’s weird why someone would take that – it’s not like you can sell it.”

Thomas, who spent several years in the shadow of Sky teammate and four-time Tour champion Chris Froome, is already plotting his assault on next year’s race.

Retaining his title would be an even greater achievement than his maiden victory, he said. “If you look in the history books, the last man to retain it after winning it for the first time was [Miguel] Indurain, back in 1991-92,” said Thomas. “So it kind of shows how rare that is.”

Read the full article at Thomas: Wiggins’s Armstrong comments are “publicity seeking” on VeloNews.com.

Thomas says Sky management favored Froome in early TDF stages


In a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian Tuesday, Geraint Thomas provided some insight on the backroom dynamics at Team Sky during the 2018 Tour de France.

The Welshman admitted that at times he was frustrated to not have the full support and protection his team gave to defending champion Chris Froome. However, he said that any slights during the race never impacted his close friendship with Froome.

“The biggest thing with Froomey was that it was never awkward,” Thomas told The Guardian.

Heading into the 2018 Tour with Froome’s Salbutamol case still up in the air, Sky was expected to give Thomas full backing as GC leader. Then, mere days before the Grand Depart, Froome was cleared.

Thomas was slated to be the second leader behind leader Froome, but from the outset, Thomas was Sky’s top GC rider following a crash that cost Froome time in stage 1. Team management had to make some decisions about which rider would be backed as the outright leader, and that didn’t always sit well with Thomas.

Ahead of the stage 3 team time trial, Thomas was informed that the team would only wait for Froome in the event of a flat tire, although he was 51 seconds behind Thomas in the overall.

“[I] sat there and stewed,” Thomas told The Guardian. “That’s a bit s—t. F—king hell, guys, could you really not wait for me?

“I was frustrated because I thought I was also a protected rider. But it’s not a decision they took lightly. They would have thought about it and debated it.”

Thomas didn’t let frustration distract him from the race, though. He said he let it slide and carried on racing all the way to Paris, where he claimed his first yellow jersey. Froome ended up third to Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb).

Thomas took yellow on the 11th stage to La Rosière and defended the lead throughout the rest of the race. Thomas told The Guardian that Froome did not abandon his ambitions to win the race during the later stages. Froome twice informed Thomas of his intentions to attack in the mountains.

“I guess that’s a good example of not racing against each other because he told me openly he was going to do it,” Thomas said. “If he’d been made to ride for me, people could now say: ‘Froomey could have attacked that day. Maybe he could have won.’ But it shows I was stronger. It worked out well in the end.”

Although Froome was unable to tie the record of five Tour de France GC wins in 2018, Thomas said his erstwhile leader was genuinely happy for him.

What does that mean for the 2019 Tour? Froome was unwilling to draw a line in the sand when queried after the Tour route was announced. In his interview with The Guardian, Thomas said, “I’d love to win it again.” However, the reigning Tour champion looks at the team dynamics realistically. He doesn’t expect Froome to sacrifice his chance at history, and given Froome’s loyalty at the 2018 Tour, it seems likely that Thomas will return the favor.

More details of the 2018 Tour are expected to be detailed in Thomas’s forthcoming book, “The Tour According to G,” out November 1.

Read the full article at Thomas says Sky management favored Froome in early TDF stages on VeloNews.com.

Geraint Thomas: ‘Ideally, Froome would ride for me. But that’s not possible’

The Tour de France winner on overcoming frustration with Team Sky, meeting Messi and why he can’t wait for next year

Geraint Thomas has already told me about the night he and Lionel Messi met up in an underground car park and how it feels to have won the Tour de France. He has considered public suspicion of Team Sky and explained his long battle to be accepted as their leading rider in this year’s race ahead of Chris Froome. Thomas pauses briefly now and, stepping away from the whirlwind of the last four months, looks ahead.

“I’d love to win it again,” he says. “Each year’s different but I still feel I’m improving even though I’m 32. I still have the motivation and commitment where I think Brad Wiggins, once he’d won it [in 2012], didn’t have 100% motivation. I’ve still got the appetite. I enjoyed the whole race – not just the end.”

Related: Tour de France 2019 plans show organisers still hope to curb Team Sky | William Fotheringham

Related: From Wales to the Champs-Élysées: the selfless rise of Geraint Thomas | William Fotheringham

In the peloton, I think everyone respects us. But the media and some fans don’t like the dominance

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Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France trophy stolen at bike show

LONDON (AFP) — Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France trophy has been stolen after being displayed at a cycle show, Team Sky said on Wednesday.

Sky has been displaying all three grand tour trophies — won by Thomas and Chris Froome at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, 2018 Giro d’Italia, and 2018 Tour de France — at various events in Great Britain.

The trophies had been loaned to the team’s bike supplier Pinarello for the Cycle Show, which was held in Birmingham over the last weekend in September.

Sky say the trophy was stolen after being momentarily left unattended while the display was packed up at the end of the event. The matter is now the subject of a police investigation.

“It is incredibly unfortunate that this has happened,” said Thomas. “It goes without saying that the trophy is of pretty limited value to whoever took it, but means a lot to me and to the team.

“Hopefully, whoever took it will have the good grace to return it. A trophy is important, but clearly what matters most are the amazing memories from this incredible summer — and no one can ever take those away.”

Richard Hemington, managing director of Pinarello UK, said: “We are obviously devastated about this. We accept full responsibility and have personally apologized to Geraint. Obviously we all hope that the trophy can be recovered.”

Read the full article at Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France trophy stolen at bike show on VeloNews.com.

Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France trophy stolen from cycling show

• Trophy left unattended at NEC in Birmingham
• Thomas: ‘Hopefully they will have the grace to return it’

Geraint Thomas has appealed for the return of his Tour de France trophy after it was stolen during a cycle show in Birmingham.

The trophy, which was on loan to a bike manufacturer, was taken when it was left unattended last month at the city’s National Exhibition Centre but the theft was revealed to the public only on Thursday.

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Appalling https://t.co/Bx6PRe2jO0

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Thomas signs new three-year-deal with Team Sky

LONDON (AFP) — Geraint Thomas has signed a new three-year deal with Team Sky, extending his stay until the end of the 2021 season, it was announced Sunday. After a career-topping season during which the Welshman won the Tour de France and Critérium du Dauphiné, Thomas has now confirmed he will stay with Team Sky until the end of the 2021 season.

“I’m pleased it’s sorted — and am delighted to be staying with the team,” said Thomas, who joined the team in 2010.

“It’s been a great journey for me with Team Sky and obviously the last few months have been crazy,” he continued. “It’s working really well for me here and I’m excited about what’s still to come.”

“He’s been with us since the start of our journey and he’s continued to develop and improve year after year,” team principal Dave Brailsford said.

“He’s worked tirelessly for such a long time to improve. He’s made sacrifices to get to the top of the sport — and it’s all proved to be worth it.”

Read the full article at Thomas signs new three-year-deal with Team Sky on VeloNews.com.

Froome, Thomas to skip worlds

LONDON (AFP) — Team Sky’s Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas will miss this month’s road world championships in Austria after a grueling season in which they both won grand tour events, Team Sky has confirmed.

Team Sky sport director Brett Lancaster confirmed the British riders would not be competing at the event in Austria, which starts on September 22. Lancaster spoke to reporters at the Tour of Britain.

“Froome and G [Thomas] will finish their seasons here. It’s good to finish, on not necessarily a form-wise high, but on a morale and psychological boost for next year,” he told Cycling Weekly magazine. “I think [Thomas] originally thought about it [riding worlds]. I would have wanted him there in the team time trial but obviously he is burnt out after a massive season and the stress they put themselves under with training and diet.”

Froome and Thomas have historically struggled at the world championships road race, which marks the bookend to the racing season. Thomas was a DNF in the men’s road race in 2013, 2014, and 2016, while Froome failed to finish in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Froome’s third place in the individual time trial in 2017 marks the only podium finish at the elite road world championships between the two.

The Austrian world championship course marks a rare opportunity for grand tour riders like Froome or Thomas to shine. The mountainous course includes approximately 5,000 meters (16,040 feet) of total climbing. Grand tour winners such as Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) are favored on the course.

Lancaster hinted that Froome and Thomas may need some mental rest after a long season.

“I think the British and Aussie mentality is a little bit different to others, where they look after themselves all year but we tend to let ourselves go a bit when we can,” the Australian added. “So when you are switched on, you’re switched on but when you’re off, you’re off.”

Read the full article at Froome, Thomas to skip worlds on VeloNews.com.

Geraint Thomas finds climb near home too steep in Tour of Britain

• ‘I had to give it a go, being on home roads,’ says Thomas
• André Greipel wins sprint to take opening stage

The Welsh heart was willing, the dragon-flag-waving crowds were willing Geraint Thomas on up the steep final ascent of Belmont, eight kilometres from the finish here, but four weeks of partying since the local hero won the Tour de France had taken their toll. Thomas was perfectly set up by his teammates and put in a searing attack, but when the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe came flying past, Thomas looked like a man who realised suddenly and painfully that he had bitten off more than he could chew.

“I had to give it a go, being on home roads and so close to where I grew up. I knew the climb but once I went I was thinking: ‘What have I done?’” Thomas said.

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Geraint Thomas eager to enjoy Tour of Britain after whirlwind month

• Tour de France winner plays down chances of winning race
• ‘I’ve not done much in the last month, I’m knackered’

Geraint Thomas is apparently on the point of signing a new contract with Team Sky but is unlikely to take any decision over whether or not he claims team leadership in defending his Tour de France title until November at the earliest, the Welshman said as he prepared to take on the eight-day Tour of Britain, which will probably be his final challenge of the season.

“I haven’t signed with Sky yet but we are pretty close, I’m happy in the team and it has worked well for me I think,” he said. “I’m not thinking about next year too much. Come November we will sit down and see the routes for the different races, the Giro and Tour, make a plan and go from there.”

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Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas gears up for home race

Welsh cyclist will be part of 120-strong peloton cycling 109-mile course through Wales

The farming village of Bancyfelin in the heart of Wales, with one pub, a post office and a tiny primary school, will be almost emptied tomorrow as cycling’s Tour of Britain rolls through the larger town of Carmarthen, five miles away.

The biggest draw in the peloton is the homecoming hero Geraint Thomas, whose dad Howell is from Bancyfelin, a community of just 300 people in the south-west of the country and where the family still has strong ties. The 32-year-old is back in the saddle in a meaningful race for the first time since breezing triumphantly down Paris’s Champs-Élysées, arms held aloft as the first Welsh winner of the Tour de France.

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