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Great Britain's Geraint Thomas during qualifying
British rider insists he's skipping the Tour de France "for the right reasons"
Welsh rider Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) has moved to diffuse any potential confrontation between himself and his Team GB coach Shane Sutton, after Sutton publicly questioned Thomas' decision to skip this year's Tour de France and focus on the London 2012 Olympics.
After the dual-purpose rider helped Great Britain defeat arch-rival Australia to gold in the team pursuit at the 2012 Track World Championships in Melbourne last week, Sutton suggested that Thomas had decided to skip the Tour and focus on adding to the gold he won in Beijing in 2008 "for the wrong reasons" - claiming that Thomas was putting his Welsh patriotism ahead of his career and that he should be more selfish.
Now Thomas has moved to play down any hint of a rift between the two men and has stated that he has no problem with what Sutton said.
“Shane had told me already what he had said in the interview,” Thomas told Wales Online. "I have known him since I was 14 and he is a straight-talking guy."
“There are no secrets between us and that is a great way to be. But I am doing things for the right reasons because the Olympics is something I’ve grown up wanting to win. I have always said London was my main 2012 goal and I don’t want to jeopardise my chances. The Tour would have done that and would have split my loyalties. It is an annual event and I am only 25, so I have got a few left in me.
“But a home Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to have a chance of winning a gold medal is amazing. Being British is part of the reason I am committing to the Games and I won’t deny that. Other nations maybe don’t see the Olympics as important as the British. Being Welsh is also an important factor and we don’t have that many gold medal prospects. To be one of those makes me massively proud.”