Geraint Thomas is unsure about his ability to lead Great Britain in the Road World Championships in the USA after a season-long racing programme. Instead, he explained that he could likely end his season on September 27 as a helper.
"It was all unknown anyway, it was easy to think to continue where I have been for the rest of the year, but it's obviously quite hard to do that," the Welshman told Cycling Weekly.
"I've taken it up a level this year and been better from Algarve all the way through Paris-Nice, the classics, Suisse, the Tour... After the Tour, I took it easy mentally as well as physically, and shut down a bit."
Thomas improved in both the classics and Tour this season. Riding so high in the Tour, followers thought that he may he may have a chance to finish on the podium with Froome.
Earlier in the year, he won the E3 Harelbeke classic, placed third in Ghent-Wevelgem, and helped lead the team through the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
The Worlds, running around 250 kilometres is considered a classic like the one-day races in the spring. The winner, however, gets to take home the rainbow jersey and wear it for a year. An on-form should be able to compete with the favourites like Slovak Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and German John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), who won both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.
"John's got a real good shot, he's been feeling good and things, mentally, I think he's a bit more prepared for it," Thomas said. "For me, it was full-gas from the start and this was just an afterthought, and not really a huge goal. It was all about all the races before the Tour and the Tour."
After four more days of the Vuelta, Thomas will travel to his home in Monaco. Rest and recover before going to Richmond, Virginia, for the worlds. He explained that he could have more of a chance if Sky does not select him for the team time trial one week before.
Watch: Geraint Thomas - Where it all began
"If I have to go and do the TTT, I won't expect too much in the road race."
Thomas offered a glimmer of hope, referring to how he raced the Tour last year and then went directly to the Commonwealth Games to win the road race and place third in the time trial. Mostly, though, he referred to the chances of his team-mates Mark Cavendish, Ben Swift and Ian Stannard.
"I'll come around a bit and feel better and be a lot more up for it," he said. "At the moment, I don't know about leading the team, but just getting stuck in and helping somebody."
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