Tokyo Olympics: Geraint Thomas hoping for redemption after crashing out of medals in Rio

The Welshman was in the leading group in 2016 when he crashed on the final corner of a descent

Geraint Thomas at the Tour de France 2021
(Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Geraint Thomas is hoping for redemption in the Tokyo Olympics, after his hopes of a medal vanished in a crash in Rio.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider, representing Team GB in this year’s Olympics in Rio, forms part of a strong four-rider climbing team flying the Union Jack, on a brutal course on the slopes of Mount Fuji. 

Thomas, who is heading into Saturday’s men’s road race after finishing the Tour de France just six days before, said he has recovered well from injuries and hopes the team can pick up a medal. 

Speaking from Japan during a video press conference, the 35-year-old said: “I’m motivated to get the best out of myself.

“To represent my country is a huge honour and I just want to do the best I can and hopefully that means winning a medal, winning the gold, but it’s easier said than done.” 

Thomas already knows what it takes to win Olympic gold, having reached the top step twice before in the games in the team pursuit, in 2008 and in 2012. 

But the winner of the 2018 Tour de France has only competed in the Olympic road race once, in Rio in 2016.

Thomas had been in flying form in Brazil, finding his way into the leading group in the final before he crashed out on a descent, his hopes of a medal evaporating before him. 

The Welshman finished as the best-placed Brit in 11th place, as Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) went on to take the gold. 

On his 2016 crash, Thomas said: “It’s something I don’t lose sleep over now, but it’s still one of those things...it was there for the taking almost, a great opportunity, but that’s the way it goes.

“Steve Peters [Ineos Grenadiers psychiatrist] is always telling me life’s not fair, you don’t always get what you deserve at that moment.

“It was super frustrating obviously. I’d love to put that right here on Saturday.”

Due to the Olympics selection rules, Team GB are limited to just four riders in the men’s road race, as Thomas will line up with Simon and Adam Yates, and Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Thomas said the team have not decided a hierarchy for the race, but pointed out the varied preparation the riders have undergone before the games.

Thomas and Geoghegan Hart are fresh from the Tour de France, while Simon Yates has been recovering after he crashed out of the Tour in the second week. 

Adam Yates on the other hand hasn’t raced since Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April and has been preparing for Tokyo since. 

Thomas has also been forced to recover from injury during the Tour, after he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first week. 

>>> Five things to look out for at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men's road race 

On his recovery, Thomas said: [The shoulder] is a lot better now. It’s more just the legs recovering from the Tour. 

"It was tough in the first 10 days or so, especially because a week later somebody went into the back of me and I landed on the right said again, which definitely didn’t help with the whole recovery process. 

“Sticking it out [at the Tour] was worthwhile. I’ve come out of it pretty good.

“I was able to go relatively easy, as easy as you can in the Tour really, in the last three days. 

“I’m feeling ready to go.” 

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the 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 and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has 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 journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.