Not making the decisive break disappointed Geraint Thomas who targeted the win at the Tour of Flanders

Geraint Thomas was left ruing his ride at the Tour of Flanders, regretting that he didn’t jump across to the race-winning move.

The British Sky rider finished 12th in Oudenaarde, 49 seconds adrift of winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), but had harboured hopes of winning his first Monument.

Thomas was well-placed going into the race’s last two ascents of the Oude-Kwaremont and the Paterberg, but he was unable to join the triumvirate of Sagan, Sky team-mate Michał Kwiatkowski and Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) when they launched at attack with just over 30km remaining. Sagan then soloed away to win from Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo).

Thomas’s failure to follow the trio ultimately put paid to his chances of victory. “I should have been in that move that Kawasaki (Kwiatkowski) was in,” the 29-year-old told Cycling Weekly.

“When he went, it was a case of sitting behind and waiting, I should have probably been there and am pretty confident I could have stayed with Sep, maybe not Sagan, but definitely Sep and then suddenly you’re riding for the podium. It’s such fine margins.”

Zdenek Stybar leads Geraint Thomas during the 2016 Tour of Flanders

Zdenek Stybar leads Geraint Thomas during the 2016 Tour of Flanders

Thomas’s eighth position in the 2014 edition of Flanders and his win at E3 Harelbeke last year pointed to his cobbled Classics credentials, but his refocusing on goals to concentrate almost solely on stage races meant that his cobbled form was somewhat of an unknown quantity prior to the race.

Indeed, the Paris-Nice winner hadn’t ridden a cobbled race this season, but he still believed he could have won.

“I had four days ill off the bike last week but I knew I was riding well and was strong after winning Paris-Nice. I knew I’d be there or thereabouts.

“I felt strong, I can be happy with how the legs were, but I just didn’t quite have that real top end, that punch,” he added.

“I was following Fabian (Cancellara) on the Kwaremont but I lost his wheel just after that and that was it, he was away.

Watch: Tinkoff sports director explains how Peter Sagan won the Tour of Flanders

“Once you are in that chase group and there’s one or two guys up the road, it’s so hard and nobody wants to pull properly. You’re racing for fourth.

“I think I can be happy given that it’s just my first race on the cobbles this year. One week racing 15km climbs with (Alberto) Contador and then trying to do it on a k-and-a-half climb with Fabian is a bit different.”

Despite his attention being on riding for GC, the Welshman confirmed that winning Flanders will remain a goal. “I just love this race. This is still high on my list of races I want to do well in.”

  • John Senior

    If SKY want to win a monument then they need to ride like a team with a plan a and a plan b. I can never work out what the plan is..why do they ride so much for so long on the front? Why does Stannard do lone attacks..?(yeah..right..he’ll exhaust Sagan and Cancellara) Why is Thomas targeting Grand Tours and then riding Flanders? Why did Luke Rowe waste so much of his form trying to win a minor classic rather than waiting for the big one? Why wasn’t Rowe protected? Who are the domestiques..very few of Team Sky seem to see themselves in this way during a classic.. Like G says – it’s fine margins but by now – given their roster- they should have won one.
    Standard and Rowe for Roubaix …fingers crossed ….all the pressure is on Etixx and Trek so let them do the riding.

  • John Westwell

    He does say in the article that he doesn’t think he had the legs to beat Sagan. Which sounds like he admitted he wasn’t good enough to win.

  • Grigor

    I would agree – adding that Geraint Thomas comes across as being very open and honest. Seems like a rider reflecting frankly on his transition from a Classics focus to a Grand Tour focus and I give him fair respect for admitting that he wouldn’t have been able to stay with Sagan…

  • Gary Jogela

    Even for professionals these things are easier said than done

  • Brendan Power

    It doesn’t look to me like he’s making excuses; just saying what he believes he did wrong. Admitting your mistakes is very different to making excuses.

  • llos25

    There is no excuse on the day he was not good enough why do they not face the facts instead of making up excuses.