Geraint Thomas eyeing Paris-Roubaix return in 2022

The Welshman was speaking on his podcast to four-time winner Tom Boonen when he said he'd like to try and win the Queen of the Classics in 2022

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Geraint Thomas has suggested that he may try and win Paris-Roubaix next season, revealing he is still has a “burning desire” to win the race.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider has ridden the Hell of the North six times, his best result being a seventh-place finish in 2014.

But as the Welshman shifted his focus to targeting the general classification, the 2018 Tour de France winner hasn’t committed to the spring Classics since 2015, although his last appearance at Roubaix was in the April before he won the yellow jersey.

>>> Teams expecting imminent decision on Paris-Roubaix as postponement rumours continue

Speaking to four-time Roubaix champion Tom Boonen on his podcast, the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club, the 34-year-old responded positively to Boonen’s claim that he could “easily win” the race.

“For sure it’s still that burning desire to give that one more good go as well,” Thomas said.

“Hopefully next year. The thing with one-day racing as well is that it's A to B, it’s over in one day, and it’s just spontaneous as well. With stage racing, especially Grand Tours now, there’s a lot of calculated holding back, whereas one-day racing it’s about emptying the tank.”

Thomas will attempt to secure a second yellow jersey this summer, but he admitted that Roubaix presents an attraction like no other, although before he returns to the cobbles he would have to readjust to the racing style.

“It’s an unbelievable race, one of a kind,” he added. “It’s unique. It’s the only thing in the world.

“The main thing is having big power for three to five minutes and being able to recover and go again. I don’t think the longest sector is much longer than five minutes.

“With Roubaix, a lot of the time it’s a big sprint into the [cobbled] sections for positions because you want to be far in front as possible with less mishaps. And yet it’s about having good high-end power, being an explosive rider and being able to recover from that again.

“The Forest of Arenberg is absolutely mental. You go from nice, smooth tarmac onto probably the most crazy section. It’s slightly downhill into there and you go into it at 65kmh.

“It’s like a bunch sprint into there because you want a good position and you hit it at this speed. You let the bike go sometimes because there’s no point in fighting it. It’s unbelievable, that sector.”

Thomas has previous form in the northern European Classics, winning E3-Harelbeke in 2015 and also finishing eighth at the Tour of Flanders in 2014 and third at the 2015 edition of Ghent-Wevelgem.

Roubaix is not on Thomas’ racing schedule this season, with a block of altitude training in Tenerife to be followed by the Tour de Romandie. Last week he finished third at the Volta a Catalunya and was surprised by his form.

“It’s always nice for the confidence to get a good result,” he said. “So I will keep working hard now, improving, and I still feel like I have a lot of improving to come.”

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.