Geraint Thomas has said he would happily lead out Mark Cavendish in the sprints if the Manxman joins Team Sky for 2012.
Thomas is known for his time trialing skills and his huge potential for the cobbled classics but also played a key lead-out role in Edvald Boasson Hagen’s first stage victory at the Tour de France and more recently at the Hamburg Cyclassics race in Germany.
Cavendish has yet to reveal who he will ride for 2012 but all the indications point to Team Sky. If that is the case, he will no longer be with his loyal lead out man Mark Renshaw, who has signed with Rabobank. Thomas could be an excellent replacement for Renshaw in many of the big sprint finishes. He believes the arrival of Cavendish at Team Sky would be a good thing.
“We’ve grown up together and we’ve know each other since we were 14, so to ride the Tour de France and to lead him out would be special,” Thomas told a select group of media following Team Sky’s announcement that the Welshman will ride the Tour of Britain.
“It’d definitely be a big change in the team because he’s such a strong character but I think it’d be great for the team as a whole. If you’re winning consistently in the Giro and Tour, success breeds success. I think it’d be a bit like this year: we did well at Bayern-Rundfahrt, then the Dauphine, the Tour de France and the Eneco Tour. You get on a roll and I think Cav would add to that.”
Thomas is ready to work for Cavendish at this year’s world championships in Copenhagen on September 25. He believes the Manxman has huge opportunity to win the world title.
“I think it’s the best chance Cav’s had since he’s been pro,” he said.
“From what I hear, the course suits him well. We’ve got eight riders and we’ve we got a massive amount of guys who can ride. A few years we’d have struggled to find eight riders worthy of riding, now there are 12 or 13. It shows how Britain has moved. I think we’ve got a few cards to play too. If Brad, Dave Millar or Steve Cummings rode, they’re capable of going with the attacks on the last few laps and then we’ve got Cav who can wait for the sprint.”
Cheering for Froomey at the Vuelta
Thomas is currently in Tuscany, preparing for the Tour of Britain. He watched teammate Chris Froome ride the time trial of his life at the Vuelta on Monday and pull on the leader’s red jersey.
“Seeing Froomey get up there was unbelievable,” he said. “Watching it on TV during in the first week you could see how strong he was. We’re all made up for him. He’s such a nice guy and to see him perform was great.
“It also shows the strength in depth of the team, across the board. We’re not a one man band now. There are a lot of good individuals who are fortunately getting a chance to shine and that’s great.”
Thomas played down the risk of any kind of internal rivalry arising between Froome and Wiggins.
“From what I’ve seen and heard, Froomey has been working pretty hard for Brad but has still managed to be up there. I would have thought that Brad is still the main man but it helps when you’ve got a teammate around in the same position,” he said.
“When the race blows apart, if you’ve got a guy up the road, Brad can sit back and vice versa. It can make things easier for the team when there are a few more cards to play.”
Targeting success at the Tour of Britain
Thomas will be one of the team leaders for Team Sky at the Tour of Britain as he builds up for the world championships. He has raced every edition of the week-long British stage race and knows the secret of doing well overall.
“I’d love to go for it (overall victory) for sure,” he said when asked about his hopes for his national stage race.
“There’s usually a big break and making sure I get in that is half the battle. I’ve ridden the Tour of Britain every year since 2005 now and I feel I’m in a position to really go for the win. But a lot can happen. It’s been a long season. I was tired at Plouay but I’m in Italy now for the next two weeks to stay on it, freshen up and give it a really good go.”
“People like Alex Dowsett and Mick Rogers are good time trialists and we’ll have a couple of protected guys in the team but I think we’ll all race it and make sure we’re in the GC.
“It’s always good racing and flat out, all day, every day, for eight days. We’ve done so much racing we’ve got our racing endurance and so the short stages don’t matter. It’s the intensity that’s important and a week out from the worlds it’s perfect.”