Geraint Thomas has said he’ll give the Tour de France “one more good go” as he looks towards his main season goal of winning a second Tour de France, having finished runner-up behind team-mate Egan Bernal in 2019.
The Ineos rider hopes to then go on to the Olympics in Tokyo to represent Britain in both the road race and time trial.
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“The Tour will be a big goal for myself again. Obviously it was tough with the Giro as well because I’d love to go back there at some point but I just wanted to go to the Tour one more time as a big hitter,” Thomas said. “Obviously with the Olympics afterwards they’re still important to me.
“I think at the end of the day the Tour is the Tour and I just wanted to give it one more good go. From the start it’s very challenging, up and down, every two or three days there’s a tough day. It’s different in that respect, there aren’t the traditional flatter days…that’ll be exciting.”
While the 2018 British time trial champion bemoans the lack of TT kilometres in this summer’s French Grand Tour, Thomas seems satisfied to just turn up at the Tour in as good form as possible and giving the race his best shot.
“Obviously the TT has been becoming shorter and shorter, I’d prefer them not too, but that’s just the way it is and that’s the challenge. You’ve just got to go for it, got to be in it to win it. That motivates me and I’ve just got to get out there and do everything I can to get there in the best shape,” Thomas said. “Once you’re there you do what you can. If I don’t win, or don’t podium or don’t finish in the top 10 or whatever, success will be just getting there in my top shape and going from there really.”
After taking extra time off to adjust to life after his Tour win in 2018, Thomas says he’s in much better shape now compared to January 2019 and is glad to have put a year behind him that he says wasn’t enjoyable.
“I feel so much better and different from this time last year. Obviously I’ve been training, I started earlier, I think I had easily twice the amount of time off last October and November,” said Thomas.
“Last year I wouldn’t say was enjoyable, because you get to a level where you’re used to being competitive and it’s just a big fight all the time.”
In a recently aired BBC documentary following Geraint Thomas’ 2019 Tour de France, footage shows Thomas reflecting on the day stage 19 was neutralised due to landslides, effectively handing Egan Bernal the overall victory.
“It just seems to be the story of my race really, just like one thing after another. That whole Murphy’s Law, what can go wrong will go wrong. But at least the saving grace of it all is that Egan has the jersey now so we’ll see. Great for the team,” Thomas said.
“I knew that my chance had gone by that point and I had to just do my best for Egan. In sport, life in general, you do make your own luck a lot. If you do everything right, you do work really hard, you get more out of it.”
With Thomas and Bernal following party lines of saying it was all about putting the team first before any personal ambition in the build-up to and during the race, Thomas went on to speak of his frustration at not being made the overall leader for Ineos as he looked to defend his title.
“I think a part of me had hoped to be out-and-out leader for the Tour just because most of my career I’ve worked for others. Nearly all of it. A part of me jokingly inside has gone like ‘Egan doesn’t know what it’s like really to work all your life and then finally get it, he’s only 22’. I just felt…not disappointed in the team, just disappointed really.”
Dave Brailsford recently announced that for the 2020 race both Thomas and Bernal will focus on winning the Tour de France while new signing Richard Caparaz will be given the opportunity to defend his Giro d’Italia title.
Meanwhile, Chris Froome has said he is still focused on regaining his form in time for the Tour de France where he wants to try and win a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey.