Geraint Thomas says he is already lighter than this time last year, while his power numbers look “encouraging.”
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
He will start his season in Portugal this week at the Volta ao Algarve, but says he will be riding in a support role.
Thomas said: “Last year was very different to any other in my career really, coming back from winning the Tour.
“Usually I start the season quite strongly. This year I’ve not been as intense as normal and it’s a little different these days where the Tour is the sole focus for the whole year, but I’m feeling better.
“I’m not at race weight yet, but my power numbers are encouraging. I’m still a lot lighter than this time last year and my numbers are better as well.”
After finishing second in last year’s Tour, behind his team-mate Egan Bernal, the pressure is off for Thomas as he wants to give the yellow jersey “one more good go.”
This winter, Thomas completed a seven-week training block before Christmas, took the festive period off and then flew to LA for a month-long block there.
He said: “I did some good training and it was nice to get away from Europe, in my own little world, my own bubble.
“It’s all NFL, basketball, and no one really cares about cycling.
“You can just get on with your thing and I had the family there with me too. I did some great work out there.”
Thomas will return to the peloton at the Volta ao Algarve alongside Ben Swift, Michał Kwiatkowski, Dylan van Baarle and world time trial champion Rohan Dennis.
But he will not be racing for the overall however, instead saying he plans to support his squad.
He said: “I want to get stuck into a good five days of racing. There are a lot of guys in our team who have already done at least a week of racing – Rohan, Dylan, Kwiato – and they’re targeting early races and going really well.
“I’ll be there to give them a hand and should still be up there, but I won’t be going for the win. I’ll be helping the other boys in that regard.
“It’ll be nice to be affecting a race again.”