'I'm a lot better than three weeks ago' - Geraint Thomas confident about progression towards Giro d'Italia

The Ineos Grenadiers rider looked strong on the first climbing test of Tirreno-Adriatico

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Geraint Thomas is confident in his progression towards the Giro d’Italia, as he looked strong in the first climbing test of Tirreno-Adriatico.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider is racing in Italy to prepare for his leadership duties at the Giro next month, which his now major goal after missing the Tour de France.

Thomas was amongst the strongest riders on stage three in Tirreno, a testing day from Follonica to Saturnia with one major climb in the final and an uphill finish.

The Welshman was at the front of the race on the Poggio Murell (1.6km at 10.8 per cent), before Michael Woods launched his attack on the steepest slopes and went on to take the stage. 

Thomas finished with the nine-rider chasing group, 20 seconds behind the winner, and moves up into fourth place overall.

Speaking after the stage, he said: “I think I’m a lot better than where I was three weeks ago. I think this race will do me the world of good now to really move me on that a little bit more and be ready for the Giro.” 

Thomas is missing the 2020 Tour de France as he said he didn’t want to ride in a support role at the race, but instead wanted to fight for his own chances at Grand Tour victory.

The 34-year-old was also struggling for form at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he finished 37th overall. 

But he looks to be coming back to his best, as he sits just 30 seconds off the race lead in Italy with the toughest mountain stages still to come. 

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Reflecting on stage three, he said: “It was a tough day altogether.

“We did the finish climb the first time and  then everyone stopped riding with us so me and Froomey had a quick chat and we were just like 'we're not just going to drag everyone along, we're not the favourites here.'  

“The last climb was really hard. Woodsy kicked with 500m to go and I was close to the limit there. I didn't want to go all the way into the red because I probably wouldn't be able to come out of it, especially with the heat, so I drifted back a little and stayed in that group.” 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.