Geraint Thomas is pleasantly surprised by his early-season form, coming off the back of a winter without any intensity.
The Briton currently sits third on GC at the Volta a Catalunya after four stages, his fourth stage race of the season so far.
At Tirreno-Adriatico he rode in support of Egan Bernal and at the Catalan race he is working for current leader of the GC, Adam Yates.
A heavy racing schedule is what the Ineos Grenadiers man has opted for as he builds up to the Tour de France, where he plans on emulating his success from 2018 when he claimed the yellow jersey.
The 34-year-old said: “These two races, this and Tirreno, have been more about turning up, race around, and helping the team, and there was no thought of really being in the mix, but I have been and that’s really good for morale.
“I’m getting better all of the time. I had a slow start to the year. I’m just getting the hours in and I haven’t done any efforts in training. I’ve just been using the race to get that intensity and it’s going really well.
“I definitely feel like I have a good bit of headroom left so that’s encouraging. It’s all good.
“I have been working on my diet quite a lot earlier than normal and that makes a big difference. It’s nice to be in the mix.”
Stage four of the Volta, won by Esteban Chaves, saw Ineos pack men at the front of the peloton, first led by Rohan Dennis, Richie Porte, and then Thomas himself.
It’s a tactic that Jumbo-Visma have expertly copied from the British team, and Thomas was happy to see the inventors dominate again. They now sit 1-2-3 on GC with Porte in second between Yates and Thomas.
“It’s been a great team performance and it’s nice to ride like that,” he said.
“A load has been said about how we’re racing and how we’re different and this and that, but it’s good to have it the old-school way and stamp our authority on the race.
“We’ve obviously got a really strong team here and everyone’s in good shape.
“It’s a great team to be in, a great environment, no egos, everybody’s happy to help everyone else so I think it stands us in good stead for the rest of the season.”