Geraint Thomas has little left to prove in the world of cycling. Over his glittering career, the Cardiff-born rider has won world titles and Olympic gold medals, and become just the third British man in history to top the general classification at the Tour de France.
Now, at the age of 36, the INEOS Grenadiers veteran is out to prove that last year's surprise podium finish in Paris was no fluke, as he attempts to add the pink jersey of the Giro d'Italia to his impressive palmarès.
But, after a stop-start 2023 season – and persistent rumours of impending retirement – does Thomas still have what it takes to compete with young contender Remco Evenepoel, stage race heavy-hitter Primož Roglič, and INEOS Grenadiers teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart?
Thomas is set to be on the start line when the 2023 edition of the Giro gets underway in the Italian coastal town of Ortona on Saturday May 6. Along with the other riders, he'll spend the next three weeks negotiating time trials and challenging mountain routes on the way to the finish in Rome. And, just as it is for all the Grand Tours, GCN+ is the place to be if you want to keep up with the peloton, providing the best roadside views and expert analysis of the race as it unfolds – for Thomas and his rivals.
After an exciting Spring Classics season, the cycling world is about to shift its attention to stage racing. That means a different set of riders will move into the spotlight as they vie to top the GC at the end of three weeks of hard racing.
Not every cyclist has what it takes to make the podium at a Grand Tour but Thomas undoubtedly does. Having helped guide (then-)Team Sky teammate Chris Froome to four Tour de France victories, the Welsh rider became the main man in 2018 when he carried the yellow jersey up the Champs-Élysées in Paris. He's since followed up that spectacular win with a second place in 2019 and – in a performance that rolled back the years – a third place in 2022.
But for all Thomas's success in France, Italy hasn't been such a happy hunting ground, with DNFs in 2017 and 2020, and his best ever placing (80th) coming over a decade ago. He'll be pulling out the stops for a change of fortunes this year, however, especially as he's expressed his disappointment that the mountain-heavy Tour de France route features just one time trial stage. And while Thomas is yet to make a decision on his future, there's a chance this could be his final season in the peloton – if he does decide to retire at the end of the year, he'll want to bring the curtain down on his illustrious career in style.
Unfortunately, Thomas's preparation for the Giro has been far from ideal. An infection he contracted at January's Tour Down Under forced him out of the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico races, and he didn't return to the start line until March's Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. He then faced a race against time to be ready in time for Italy, though consistent top 20 finishes in traditional Giro curtain raiser the Tour of the Alps suggest he may be on the right track.
But even if Thomas rediscovers his form, he's unlikely to have everything his own way in the first Grand Tour of the season. Evenepoel and Roglič had a fierce battle in Catalunya, where Roglič came out on top by the slenderest of margins. That will surely whet fans' appetite for the Giro, where Evenepoel will be looking to follow up his 2022 Vuelta a España win, and Roglič will be eager to add to his trio of Vuelta triumphs, cementing his place as one of the greatest stage racers of his generation. There'll also be competition from Thomas's fellow INEOS Grenadier Tao Geoghegan Hart, the 2020 Giro winner coming off the back of a strong performance in April's Tour of the Alps.
"You’ve got to believe you can beat [Evenepoel and Roglič],” Thomas told Cycling Weekly at the Tour of the Alps. “Obviously they’re by far the strongest favourites with what they’ve done so far this year. But we can go in there confident, and try to do what we can.
"I’m feeling better week-by-week," he added, "and it just feels like as the weeks go by, I’m soaking up the benefits from the work I do. I think I’ll just go there, try and just get there in the best shape I can and then take things from there."
With so many top riders in contention at the Giro, you'll want to be watching the action from day one, and GCN+ is the only destination you need to follow the ups and downs (both literally and metaphorically) of the race. You can catch every unmissable moment live – with expert analysis and replays on demand – or, if you're busy, catch up later at a time to suit you. GCN+ offers a selection of highlights packages, ranging from extended packages to a focus on the exciting final kilometres of the day. The best moments will also be rounded up in the exclusive World of Cycling show.
And when the Giro comes to an end on Sunday May 28, you can watch live and uninterrupted coverage from loads more of the biggest races of the year, from road, cross, track and MTB, as well as a library of more than 150 exclusive cycling films. GCN+ gives you all that and more for just £39.99 a year if you take out an annual subscription – that's as little as the price of a cup of the finest Italian espresso every month.
So if you want to see if Geraint Thomas can join the pantheon of cycling greats who've conquered both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia, GCN+ is the only place you need to be.
You can watch the Giro d'Italia from May 6-28 on GCN+. Check out the unmissable cycling racing you can watch this week on GCN+ at globalcyclingnetwork.com.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1