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Geraint Thomas leaves sign on
Sky rider looking to perform at Tour of Flanders
The Welshman rode aggressively and drove the winning break off the front on the Oude Kwaremont. Thomas did his fair share of work at the head of the pack and had just enough in the tank to take the final step on the rostrum. "I was in a really good position all the way and on Kwaremont I just thought sod it, just go for it and see what happens," Thomas told Cyclingnews after returning to the team bus with his day's winnings.
Unfortunately for Thomas, his dig dragged Peter Sagan with him, who looked like a man on a mission as he continued to attack the bunch, eventually whittling the group down to only four riders. "When I saw him [Sagan] there, I thought "come on boys let's try to stay away from him." But when he got back, it was tough then, because he's one of the best riders in the world especially in these kinds of races. He's super fast as well, so we knew that it would be a challenge. At the same time, he is super strong as well so riding through with him definitely helped."
"Coming into the finish, it didn't feel like I had the kick that the other boys had like Sagan and Terpstra. I just thought that I would gamble it all on the sprint and who know what can happen. Terpstra had me on the line though. My bars weren't straight either. I stopped again after the crash to straighten them up but I didn't get them quite straight. That's no excuse for the sprint, but it was a good day all in all."
Thomas was one of several team Sky riders to hit the deck during the race, with Ian Stannard abandoning after a particularly hard tumble. Due to some quick work from his teammates, he was swiftly back in the main bunch from where he was able to launch his attack. "I got caught in that crash at about 100km. The boys helped me out, gave me a back wheel and straightened my bars a bit and got me going again as quickly as possible again. That was really good because I didn't have to wait for the car," explained Thomas. "Bernie did a great job shepherding me back to the front and keeping me out of trouble."
It has been a tough couple of weeks for Thomas with a crash at Pairs-Nice and abandoning Milan-San Remo. He skipped the mid-week race at Dwars door Vlaanderen to try and recover sufficiently and wasn't overly convinced about his form heading into Friday. "On Wednesday I felt like a bag of ... not very good. After the crash in Paris-Nice and San Remo, I started to come out here on Wednesday and just felt really bad. I was still a bit unsure, but confident that I could do something and fortunately I had decent legs."
Next up for Thomas will be Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, but his main target this spring will be the Tour of Flanders, where he took 10th in the 2011 edition. With his good form, the Welshman could well make the top ten or better this time around. However, Thomas is aware that a repeat will be a tough ask. "I would love to get up there, but a lot can happen. Fabian had some bad luck today and Boonen has been having a few family issues so he probably hasn't ridden his bike much, so I'm sure he'll come up really well. There's a lot of guys around so anything can happen. I think that we're in a good position legs-wise in the team and form-wise. It's all to race for."