'I’ve got the rest of my life to chill and drink cocktails' - Geraint Thomas going all-in at the Vuelta a España

Ineos Grenadiers leader ready for Spanish Grand Tour, three months after finishing second at Giro d'Italia

Geraint Thomas
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the end of his career approaching, Geraint Thomas has found it easier to go all-in at the Vuelta a España in the knowledge that he has the rest of his life "to chill and drink cocktails".

The 37-year-old will line up for the 19th Grand Tour of his career in Barcelona this Saturday as one of the general classification favourites, after his second place at the Giro d'Italia earlier this year.

"It's easy to commit now I know I'm at the end of my career," the Ineos Grenadiers rider said. "I might as well commit to this and see what I can do. Then I've got the rest of my life to chill and drink cocktails."

Speaking in a press conference ahead of the start of the Vuelta, Thomas explained that it was "strange building up to two peaks in the season", but that he was looking forward to it and feeling good.

"The run into the Giro wasn't ideal, with the bacterial infection that just kept coming back. It wasn't until March that I had consistent training," he said. "Obviously since then it's all been good, with the Giro in the legs, and then building up slowly. 

"It has been strange building up to two peaks in the season, it's not something I normally do. It's usually just one big hit and then a la playa, but we will see. I'm looking forward to it. I'm feeling good, and the team here is good and motivated."

The Welshman is one of four Grand Tour winners who will be at the race, alongside Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step).

On the latter, the defending champion, Thomas said: "He's a super strong guy, he's a favourite. The weight of the race will fall onto Quick-Step as well as Jumbo. They're probably the favourites here. 

"He's a phenomenal talent, he's probably more suited to one day, one big effort, not that he's bad at Grand Tours - he won here last year. He's going to be super strong, as we saw in the time trial at the Worlds."

"It's going to be tough, that's for sure," he continued. "The race and also the riders here are strong."

Thomas lost the Giro on the penultimate day, conceding time and the race to Roglič in the final time trial. Since then, he has stuck largely to training camps, apart from the Tour of Poland and the World Championships time trial, where he finished 10th. After that, it was back to altitude.

"I went up to Isola [in the Alps], had a good eight days up there, a nice little block, just me and [Laurens] De Plus," he explained. "We had our families up there, which was nice, it didn't really feel like a camp to be honest. I've been feeling alright, pretty good. Training went alright. I'm ready to go, and looking forward to it."

The time away from home - and his family - is what makes the double-Grand Tour target so difficult for the 37-year-old. 

"The mentality of it is hard too," he added. "It's almost like starting a season again but it's June/July."

Despite lining up at the Vuelta as Ineos' leader, he still does not have a contract confirmed for next season. "There's nothing to say at the moment, but hopefully soon," he said on this topic. 

His team, which he has been at since its beginnings as Team Sky in 2010, is in a state of flux at the moment, with multiple riders out of contract or leaving the team. Tao Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov, who helped Thomas to second at this year's Giro, are both departing.

"It's a big shame to see those boys go," Thomas said. "It's one disadvantage of being in such a strong team when you have boys coming through all the time. Salaries going up because they're all improving. You can't keep them all I guess. Tao and Pavel, I spent a lot of time with them this year. 

"It's sad to see them go, but we've still got a strong group of young boys and then an elder statesman I guess. We've got some good guys in the ranks. When it comes to the Tour de France [next year], I think I just want to get these three weeks done and see what happens. I would love to go back to the Tour, but as a leader and targeting it, we will see."

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.