Geraint Thomas will return to racing at the Tour of Britain, just under two months after he crashed out of the Tour de France. It will be Thomas' first appearance at the week-long race since the 2011 edition where he took victory in the points competition.
Thomas has been out of action since he crashed heavily on a fraught stage 9 of the Tour de France and broke his collarbone. It was the second time this season that Thomas had departed a Grand Tour in such a manner, after abandoning the Giro d'Italia following a crash caused by a motorbike at the base of the Blockhaus. In an interview with Cyclingnews, Thomas said that he would not try to return for the Vuelta a Espana but would instead target the Tour of Britain ahead of the World Championships next month.
Tour of Britain organisers confirmed on Thursday morning that Thomas would be racing along with teammates Michal Kwiatkowski and Owain Doull.
"It's always great to be able to race in front of home fans, so I'm really looking forward to the Tour of Britain," said Thomas. "I haven't had the chance to race at home much in recent years, but the atmosphere at London 2012, then at the home stages of the Tour de France and Commonwealth Games in 2014, has always stayed with me.
"The support from British fans is always fantastic when we race abroad - especially from the Welsh fans! There aren't many races now where I don't see the flag at the side of the road, and it just gives you such a boost."
This year, the race moves away from the traditional finish in London and will reach its climax in Thomas' hometown of Cardiff, something that he is looking forward to. "Obviously it was the first thing the Welsh guys spoke about when we saw that the finish was going to be in Cardiff. I'm sure the fans will do us proud – that's going to be a great day," he said.
Fellow Cardiff-man Doull will be riding his fifth consecutive Tour of Britain. The 24-year-old, who turned professional this season with Team Sky, enjoyed a very successful 2015 race, with third place overall and victory in the points competition. Like Thomas, he is looking forward to the finish in the Welsh capital.
"I can't wait to be back racing in the UK, especially with the race finishing in my hometown of Cardiff," Doull explained. "This will be my fifth time racing the Tour of Britain and my first time racing with Team Sky, so it will be an even bigger event for me. The crowds just seem to get bigger every year, so it's a race I really look forward to."
The Tour of Britain will start in Edinburgh on September 3 and finish on Cardiff on September 10.