Geraint Thomas has just one key objective in mind for the remainder of the year. After missing out on the opportunity to participate at the Tour de France, the Welshman has now set his sights on being amongst the leading contenders to win the Giro d’Italia, which is scheduled to take place between the 3rd and 25th October.
Currently being put through his paces at the Tirreno-Adriatico road race in Italy, there were more than a few raised eyebrows when Thomas and fellow Briton, Chris Froome, weren’t amongst the riders selected by Ineos Grenadiers to feature at the Tour. However, despite winning the Tour in 2018 and finishing second in 2019, Thomas has admitted he wasn’t in the best of shape for the 2020 event.
“I didn’t feel 100 percent” explained Thomas, in comments highlighted by Welsh outlet Dai Sport. While he could have participated at the Tour, “not to be 100 percent and just ride for the team” wasn’t of particular interest. Insofar as the 34-year-old rider was concerned, “I feel I’m at an age where I definitely want to make the most of all the chances I get.”
Geraint Thomas: I didn’t want to go the Tour de France in another role
— Cyclingnews.com (@Cyclingnewsfeed) September 9, 2020
“It felt like the Giro was a better fit for me this year,” underlined Thomas, now this race has become the focus of his attention and preparations. Although he isn’t likely to win the Tirreno-Adriatico, the race itself is providing Thomas with a great range of challenging stages, all of which will test his readiness for the Giro d’Italia.
Indeed, bookmakers would also seem to agree with his choice of Grand Tour event focus this year. Thomas is 2/1 cycling betting favorite to win the Giro, indicating that his current efforts and confidence could well be rewarded, should preparations over the coming weeks continue going as planned.
What’s more, there’s an added reason why Thomas is so eager to make his mark at the 2020 Giro d’Italia. Back in 2017, he was well placed in the general classification at the Giro, just under seven minutes behind race leader Tom Dumoulin heading into Stage 13. Unfortunately, his ambitions of winning were curtailed by an ill-fated accident.
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) May 14, 2017
Of all things, a stationary police motorbike was the cause of the incident. As one rider swerved to avoid the parked vehicle, he took almost the whole Team Sky group with him, which resulted in Thomas and several other competitors crashing in a tangled heap. While he managed to get back on his bike and finish the stage, priceless minutes had been lost.
Thomas only suffered minor scrapes and bruising, although the greatest harm done was to his chances of winning the 2017 Giro, which led to his decision to withdraw from the race. That was perhaps the right call to make at the time, yet there’s also an enduring sensation of unfinished business for Thomas and the Giro.
Now that Thomas is eager to have another crack at the Giro, hopefully, the fates will smile a little more favorably on the competitive Welsh cyclist, especially as we reach what has been a very disappointing year by his typically high standards.