Geraint Thomas is on the road towards the London Olympics, using certain events like this week's Tour Down Under to fine-tune his preparation.
"It's always easier to race than to train, you can go deeper when you're racing," Thomas told Cycling Weekly. "I enjoy racing so much. It's easier for me to train for a race, race hard and rest. And then another race."
Thomas took time to meet with Welsh fans before the start of today's fourth stage in Norwood, South Australia. He led Sky team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen to fourth place in the sprint finish later in Tanunda.
He explained that the results are important, but he has his eyes on an Olympic Gold medal on August 3 in the team pursuit. For him these races are more about training.
"For sure, that's what it's all about this year."
He added that it is still important for him to help the others, like Boasson Hagen, and to try for a win when he is able. His schedule is built around the World Cup in London next month, the World Championships in April and the Olympics.
After the Tour Down Under and World Cup, Thomas returns to the road for the Tour of Sardinia, Paris-Nice and maybe Milan-San Remo. They are lead-up events to the Worlds in Melbourne. Between the Worlds and Olympics, he will race the three-week Giro d'Italia and possibly the road nationals.
"At the end of the day, it's all part of the build up to the World Cup, the Worlds and then the Olympics," Thomas continued. "The races fall in nicely."
Thomas explained that the World Cup and Worlds might also help him succeed on the road.
"Track is a time for freshening up. You don't really do much volume, but you do a lot of speed. Last year, after [the World Cup and] Sardinia, I just felt really good. Hopefully, it'll be a similar and at Paris-Nice I can ride quite strongly."
Next year, Thomas will have a complete road programme and wants to return to his favourite race, the Tour of Flanders. He said that he wants to progress in the race and go into it as a co-leader with Boasson Hagen and Juan Antonio Flecha. His goal is another Olympic Gold and then the Tour of Flanders.
"In my head, yes," said Thomas, "that's how I see it."
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