Thomas is beginning his third race of the season, the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in central Italy. His 12th place in Strade Bianche shows that he might have shed some of that weight that Tom Dumoulin teased him about this afternoon.
“Everyone could see that. We were chatting about it in the lift. I was pretty big when you see photos back but it’s all good now,” Thomas said.
“It was definitely worth it, you never know how often you win the Tour. It could be the last race I ever win so at least I enjoyed it.”
Thomas began to look bigger than the Welshman who blasted away in the Alps to lock down the yellow jersey in July. After he wrapped up the Tour de France title in Paris, sponsors began calling and he made the media rounds.
Those times have passed, beginning with a block of racing Spain and an altitude camp in Tenerife.
“I like just training hard and doing the hours and a few efforts, I just enjoy that side of bike racing, riding and training. The weight is the biggest issue, but when you are fully committed and on it like I have been now since Tenerife, you can feel it coming off and you get a lot of morale about that,” Thomas continued.
“To be honest, I avoided the scales for a long time. I could just tell I was fat by looking in the mirror. It wasn’t really until Valencia maybe when I started [using a scale]. I’m mid 71s [kilograms] now. I’m back on the scales now. I knew I was fat so there was no point in seeing a number going with it.”
Thomas is using Tirreno-Adriatico as part of a lead-up to the Tour de France in July. Another Sky roster is fighting through the crosswinds in Paris-Nice this week, including Michał Kwiatkowski, Luke Rowe and Egan Bernal.
If not for a chain problem on the summit finish stage in 2018, Thomas instead of Kwiatkowski may have won Tirreno-Adriatico. This year, the organiser excluded summit finishes in exchange for punchy stages and a team and individual time trial bookending the race. The race begins with a 21.5km team time trial on Wednesday.
“The stage on Sunday should probably have as much impact or more than the long climb last year because it’s so punchy, it’ll be a hard day and a steep climb. If someone has strong leg’s they can take five, six, seven or 10 seconds there so. Yeah, I think it’ll certainly still be hard,” Thomas said.
“For me, maybe a bit punchy at the moment, but I was a lot better in Strade Bianche than I thought I’d be. We also have Wout [Poels] as well to be up there. Hopefully we can do a good TTT to start the week well and go from there.”
Thomas finished an altitude block in Tenerife and raced the gravel roads of Strade Bianche on Saturday. He finished 12th in what will be his only one-day race this spring. Though he’s ramping towards the Tour de France, he is not ruling out a result this week.
“Never say never, you never know with bike racing, but my condition’s certainly not as good what it has been this time of year before, but saying that it’s not like I’m going badly,” he added.
“So you never know as long as you can ride well all week, and a bit of good fortune as well. With Wout as well in the team we have two good cards to play.”