Throughout December we will be revealing Cycling Weekly‘s top 50 British riders of the year.
We will be revealing the final top ten in this year’s list of top 50 British Riders in the December 25 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
NO. 12: GERAINT THOMAS
Still only 22, Geraint Thomas is, quite rightly, seen as one of the jewels in British Cycling?s crown. When you talk to people about him, they all say the same thing. ?He doesn?t appreciate how good he is,? or ?We?ve only just started to see what he?s capable of.?
It?s been a stellar year for the young Welshman. As a key part of the team pursuit team, he won the World Championship and Olympic Games titles as part of the ?A team?, then he and Ed Clancy teamed up with Rob Hayles and Steven Burke at the Manchester World Cup and still went under four minutes.
The Olympics could have been even better for Thomas. He was riding 4-17s in training for the individual pursuit prior to the Games, but with such a key role in the team, it was felt too risky to put him into the individual competition as well, so the place went to Steven Burke, who won a bronze medal.
Arguably, it could have been a Bradley Wiggins v Thomas final had the Welshman been given that place.
On the road, Thomas showed he is developing into a very, very strong rider, as you may expect from a former winner of the junior Paris-Roubaix.
Although his season was built around Beijing, he rode the Giro d?Italia, his second grand tour. Last year he rode and finished the Tour de France, this time he rode and finished the Giro.
And he finished with a flourish too, taking a very impressive 12th place in the final time trial in Milan.
Just finishing the Giro is an impressive achievement for a 22-year-old. Finishing strongly shows he has a durability and a capacity to recover, which will stand him in good stead in stage races and Classics in the future.
A week or so later, he was in Holland for the Ster Elektrotoer stage race. Thomas was third in the opening time trial, a punchy six-kilometre stage, just three seconds behind Tony Martin. Had he not slightly misjudged one of the final corners he may even have won the stage.
Next season will be a fascinating one for Thomas, or ?G? as everyone at British Cycling calls him. He has one more season with Barloworld and following MOises Duenas?s positive for EPO, it?s hard to imagine them being top of ASO?s list of invites to the Tour de France.
So it may be Thomas gets another crack at the Giro. One thing is for sure, he wants to get into some winning situations in 2009 and get his first professional victory.
After that the British pro team should be up-and-running and you?d have to assume Thomas is one of the front runners for a place.
RIDERS REVEALED SO FAR
December 22: No. 13 Ed Clancy
December 21: No. 14 Jamie Staff
December 20: No. 15 Shanaze Reade
December 19: No. 16 Paul Manning
December 18: No. 17 Sarah Storey
December 17: No. 18 Ross Edgar
December 16: No. 20 Chris Newton and 19 Wendy Houvenaghel
December 15: No. 22 Gee Atherton and 21 Rob Hayles
December 14: No. 24 Joanna Rowsell and 23 Simon Richardson
December 13: No. 26 Rachel Atherton and 25 Ben Swift
December 12: No. 28 Lizzie Armitstead and 27 Steven Burke
December 11: No. 30 Andrew Fenn and 29 Sharon Laws
December 10: No. 32 Peter Kennaugh and 31 Josh Bryceland
December 9: No. 34 Jody Cundy and 33 Liam Killeen
December 8: No. 36 David Millar and 35 Ian Stannard
December 7: No. 38 Daniel Fleeman and 37 Matt Crampton
December 6: No. 40 Jessica Allen and 39 Daniel Lloyd
December 5: No. 42 David Daniell and 41 Dean Downing
December 4: No. 44 Steve Peat and 43 Anna Blyth
December 3: No. 46 Jonny Bellis and 45 Jess Varnish
December 2: No. 48 Luke Rowe and 47 Michael Hutchinson
December 1: No. 50 Katie Colclough and 49 Chris Froome