By Ben Atkins in Manchester
Geraint Thomas, a member of the world record breaking Great Britain pursuit team, and the youngest rider in last summer's Tour de France, is looking to Italy's number one stage race to help him prepare for the track events in August's Olympic games.
This would not be possible - and neither would a successful track programme - if it were not for the full support of his Pro Continental Barloworld team. "They're really good actually like that," Thomas told Cyclingnews as he warmed up for his team's qualification round. "Letting me prepare solely for this and also the Games as well. I told them I wanted to ride the Giro as well just for the endurance you get from that, just for the Games, and they're happy to put me in - obviously if I'm going well enough."
Track and road racing require very different types of form, but Thomas is confident that he can switch from the boards back to the tarmac in time for the race's May 10th start in Palermo, Sicily. "Last year I got my road legs back after about four weeks and I think the Giro is about six weeks away so it should be fine."
Despite being the youngest rider at last year's Tour, he finished quite strongly and hopes to build on that experience to help him to get around a tough Italian course. "I learned a lot there," he continued, "and I can just take that with me now. It's still going to be a hard fight to finish it, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting stuck into the road now."