Geraint Thomas: 'I'm the best footballer at Ineos Grenadiers'
The Welsh cyclist shares his views on the World Cup, Arsenal's title chances and his own football skills
For anyone wondering who the most talented footballer is at Ineos Grenadiers, the answer is Geraint Thomas. At least according to Geraint Thomas it is, anyway.
Last month, Thomas and his teammates travelled to the French riviera to take part in a training session with top flight football club OGC Nice.
"It was like being a kid again," the Tour de France winner told Cycling Weekly.
During the session, he explained, 130 riders and staff were split into groups to practise free-kicks, penalties and passing drills.
"Most cyclists have two left feet," the Welshman said. "I wanted to have a proper game. That's where you'd really see it. You'd get to see everyone. But I think they were worried some of use would get injured, which for sure we would.
"I'm going to have to say that I was one of the best."
Had it come down to a game, the 36-year-old said he’d have taken up an attacking midfield role, much like his latest podcast guest, Wales international Aaron Ramsey. “I would have been like a number 10, just in the pocket. Pinging them all over the shop and taking a few [shots] myself. Making it happen.”
Thomas added that he wouldn’t cower out of a tackle either, not even against 6ft3 Hour Record holder Filippo Ganna, who he described as a “big softie”.
On Monday, the Ineos Grenadiers rider's native Wales will face their first football World Cup game for 64 years. The last time the country qualified for the tournament, Jacques Anquetil had won just one of his five Tour titles.
Speaking about the Qatar World Cup, Thomas said: “I’m really looking forward to it now. I think I need to set up a few sweepstakes with the family and some mates as well, just to make it a bit more interesting."
Qatar has been criticised in the run-up to the tournament for its mistreatment of migrant workers, as well as its stance on homosexuality, which is illegal and punishable with imprisonment in the country.
“Obviously there are other things around [the tournament], you know the human rights and all that stuff," Thomas said. "I kind of feel sorry for some of the boys. There’s so much pressure on them to be megastars and do this and do that, but at the end of the day, you just want to perform and you don’t really think of the politics.”
Geraint the Gooner
Though rugby often takes precedence, Thomas has kept a close eye on the Premier League results this season, with his side Arsenal currently topping the table. "Five points clear. Decent, innit?" he said.
Asked if his team can continue their form and win the league, Thomas replied: "I'm going to say yeah. I don't know if we've got the squad for it, but you've got to believe."
In fairness, it might be a wonder how a boy from Cardiff came to support a London-based club. "When I was a kid in school, most of my mates were [Manchester] United and that’s when Arsenal were competing for the Premier League, year-in year-out," the Welshman said.
"Cardiff and Swansea weren’t even in there. You have to support someone in the Premiership so I went for Arsenal. I liked Thierry Henry.
"My mum randomly managed to buy me the right shirt. It was the yellow away shirt with the three stripes over the shoulder, when there was JVC [as a sponsor]."
Sadly, he added, the shirt was thrown away a long time ago.
The Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast, now in its third season, is part of Crowd Network's sports division.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders.
An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides.
He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.
Dr Hutch: WLTM someone to join him on long rides
Doctor Hutch leaves sightseeing for others and dedicates his long rides to the pursuit of solitary suffering. But now he’s looking for ride-mates - A GSOH is a must
By Michael Hutchinson • Published
Carolin Schiff makes huge solo effort to take victory at women's Unbound Gravel 200
German off-road pro takes a massive solo victory at gravel's premiere event, Unbound
By Henry Lord • Last updated
Tweets of the week: Trek's new Lidl kit, Alaphilippe's unusual training and the Cavendish/Thomas show
Your favourite social media roundup from the world of professional cycling
By Adam Becket • Published
Tweets of the week: Geraint Thomas has a happy birthday and Elisa Balsamo gets her unicorn back
Oh and Jumbo-Visma gets back into its Twitter account
By Adam Becket • Published
21 things you didn't know about Geraint Thomas
Rugby over football, Eminem, podcasts – oh, and some cycling stuff
By James Shrubsall • Published
Maindy Flyers CC say moving Cardiff velodrome risks them missing the next Geraint Thomas
Earlier this week, historic Welsh club where Geraint Thomas, Owain Doull and Elinor Barker started out released open letter detailing their opposition to relocation
By Tom Thewlis • Published
CW LIVE: Wout van Aert and Shirin van Anrooij win cyclo-cross in Koksijde; Rapha unveil EF Education kits; Police search for two suspects in Mark Cavendish robbery; Paris-Nice route announced; Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas to ride Tour Down Under
All the latest in the world of cycling
By Tom Davidson • Last updated
Tweets of the week: Ineos Grenadiers' three wise men, team jersey déjà vu and World Cup celebrations by bike
Here's our social media round-up, featuring a cycling all-star nativity
By Tom Davidson • Published
Geraint Thomas announces he will race in 2022 Commonwealth Games
The Welshman took to Twitter to reveal he will return to the event after failing to defend his road race title in 2018
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Tom Pidcock and Geraint Thomas to make season debuts at Volta ao Algarve
David Gaudu, Remco Evenepoel and Tobias Foss will also race in Portugal from tomorrow
By Adam Becket • Published