Geraint Thomas said he’s committed to the British team for the men’s road race, despite suffering from late-season fatigue after a draining year.
The 2018 Tour de France champion pulled out of the elite men’s time trial four days before the event, saying he wouldn’t be able to compete for the win, but remains part of the road race team.
Thomas, runner-up in the Tour this year, says he has no ambition to fight for the rainbow jersey himself, but that he will fight for his team-mate Ben Swift.
Speaking to journalists at the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships, Thomas said: “I’m definitely not 100 per cent form-wise, but racing a home Worlds, the morale and everything from that, I want to do a good job for the team.
“It’s just been such a big year mentally and emotionally, as much as physically really.”
“It was hard get going again [after the Tour] and I tried get some good training over those two and a half weeks, and then I went to Germany, then after that it just wasn’t quite happening, and I was just really struggling to get back up to that level.
“That’s why I made the decision to miss the TT, because you don’t go to the Worlds to try to get top 15, that’s not what it’s about.
“I knew I could still do a job in the road race, but I left that decision up to British Cycling and they still wanted me to do the road race.”
Thomas will ride alongside team leader Swift, Adam Yates, Owain Doull, Ian Stannard and Tao Geoghegan Hart in the men’s road race on Sunday (September 29), over a brutal 285km course from Leeds to Harrogate.
The Welshman said he is tired after a dramatic few years, first winning the 2018 Tour which resulted in all the attention and adoration that follows, then trying to return to form this season to back up his victory.
Along the way, Thomas suffered a number of setbacks including a cancelled training camp due to storms and an injury that forced him out of the Tour de Suisse.
“The difference between winning [the Tour] and second is massive,” Thomas said.
“When you win, your phone’s constantly going and you get pulled left and right. When you’re second nobody really cares, you’re just back to normal, you go about your business, and you just do what you do.
“It’s tough, because I’m definitely all or nothing and when I have a big goal, this is all geared towards that and it’s so intense and you’re so committed to that, once that’s done you need that time to relax.”
On whether he had the chance to fight for the rainbow jersey himself, he said: “Without sounding too negative, its just not going to happen. Some people find that hard to believe when I say that.
“But you know as an athlete how you’re feeling. You know what you’ve got to be like to be performing up there. It’s just not going to happen, no matter how much I want it to, but that’s just the way it is.”
When asked whether he was disappointed he wasn’t able to fight for a rainbow jersey on British roads, Thomas said: “The Worlds is something I’ve always loved racing in and it’d be nice to just be 100 per cent for the Worlds at some point, but it’s just tough.
“There comes a point where you need to decide to focus on one thing and the Tour and Grand Tours has been the main focus for the last three or four years.
“Another year or two and then for sure, I’m looking forward to going back to Flanders and Roubaix and those races, and maybe the Worlds.
“If the Worlds were in August, like they are in Glasgow, it’d be different, but I’ll be like 37 by then.”
“All these bloody 19-year-olds,” he joked.