Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas returns to the Northern Classics in Belgium and France one year after his debut. The British Champion raced Ghent-Wevelgem yesterday, and over the next two weeks will face Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
“I wouldn’t mind winning either one to be honest. There’s no real timeline, just get stuck in and keep taking my changes as they come,” Thomas said yesterday morning.
“Getting second the other day was just good for the confidence. It was good to get up there.”
Team Sky’s Ian Stannard fought from an escape to hold off the Tom Boonen led group yesterday in Ghent-Wevelgem. Thomas, however, placed second at the Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday behind experienced Belgian Nick Nuyens.
Thomas’ Dwars result, his support of team-mate Juan Antonio Flecha last year and his win in the 2004 junior Paris-Roubaix mark him as a future classics star. The pressure is manageable, though, thanks to the 24-year-old’ track background.
“There’s a lot more pressure with the track, it’s a lot more intense, it’s down to one-tenth of a second on every split. A lot can happen here and you just adapt, it’s a lot easier to get stuck in and race.
“I’ll help Flecha out in Flanders and Roubaix, and just try to be there in the real crunch of the race, when it really matters.”
Cancellara annihilated his rivals in both Flanders and Roubaix last year and appears ready to do so again. Saturday at the E3 Prijs or ‘Little Flanders’, he attacked solo with 16 kilometres remaining.
Sky skipped the E3 Prijs, but Thomas watched the race on TV.
“Fabian looked pretty good. I don’t know if he’s… He’s definitely not unbeatable. He’s human at the end of the day, things can happen, he can have a bad day or puncture, mechanical…
“There are 200 bike riders out there racing and a lot can happen. Obviously, though, we are going to have to watch him when he comes to the front.”
Thomas is now in Manchester and training. He will travel back to Belgium on Friday to meet the team and prepare for the start of Flanders on Sunday in Bruges.
Thomas second in Dwars door Vlaanderen as Nuyens wins
Spring Classics 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Boonen returns for Ghent-Wevelgem win
Cancellara destroys competition for repeat E3 Prijs win