Geraint Thomas ended his 2017 season with a bronze medal in the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships but was disappointed with his personal performance, feeling he let down his Team Sky teammates.
Team Sky finished 22 slower than Team Sunweb, with BMC taking the silver medal, eight seconds slower. The team was considered the strongest on paper before the race but lost Owain Doull early on and then Thomas was distanced on the 1.5km climb after 30km of the 42.5km course. Team Sunweb used their strength in depth and stayed united to gain vital seconds on their rivals in the final kilometres.
Thomas is a renowned time trialist and won the opening time trial at the Tour de France in July. However, he was forced out of the race on stage after 9 after fracturing his collarbone. He targeted the Giro d'Italia in May but was involved in a crash caused by a stationary police motorbike and had to quit before stage 13 due to his injuries.
He returned to action at the Tour of Britain, hoping to find some form for the World Championships but the testing course and intense effort exposed his lack of high-end form. He was gutted to let down his teammates in Bergen.
"It's the worst TTT I've ever done. I feel I let the lads down," Thomas told Cyclingnews.
"I just felt terrible from the start. I was on the back foot from the very first turn. I was in the red from the very start. It was horrible. The TTT is the worst place to be when you're suffering. You don't recover and you're just there as a passenger."
No legs on the climb
Chris Froome was seen trying to help Thomas stay with his teammates on the climb but then waved to accelerate when it was clear Thomas was struggling. Thomas revealed to Cyclingnews that he told his teammates not to wait for him.
"I had to try to get over the climb with the boys but I was didn't have the legs. I told them to go because we wouldn't have got a medal if they'd waited for me," Thomas said. "The amount I'd have been able to give back in the final kilometres wouldn't have made up for time lost waiting for me. It's a shame because we had a strong team but I didn't have anything.
"It's disappointing. I tried to get into decent nick for this but I'm ready to stop now, shut it down, end the season and think about next year."
Time for the off-season
Thomas travelled home on Monday to begin his off-season. After a break he will begin to think about 2018. He is expected to again target the Giro d'Italia before helping Froome target a fifth victory at the Tour de France.
"I can relax a bit now and start all over again," Thomas said.
"It's been an up and down season, literally. I had some of my best ever results but also had big crashes. It's a shame really but that's cycling. I hope to get all the bad luck out of the way this year and really show what I can do next year."