The next eight days will be the last for Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins as teammates, as Wiggins draws the curtain on his road career. The pair have known each other for some time, riding together on the track and winning gold in the team pursuit at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. It was then that Wiggins decided to put an end to his track career and focus on the road but their paths would cross again with the advent of Team Sky.
While Thomas was still performing at the highest level on the track, Wiggins was going from strength to strength on the road - culminating in his overall victory at the Tour de France in 2012. That year would be Thomas’ last on the boards and his road career has since enjoyed a dramatic leap forwards. Earlier this week, Wiggins tipped Thomas as the future of Team Sky and as a potentially talismanic figure for the British outfit.
Talking ahead of this weekend’s Tour of Flanders, Thomas remembered his time with Wiggins fondly. “He’s one of if not the best cyclists that Britain’s produced. He’s a top guy to have around and learn off really over the years,” said Thomas. “When I grew up he was a few years ahead of me, he was winning junior Worlds and then he went to the Olympics and turned pro and he was doing everything that I wanted to do.
“Then to ride Beijing with him and spend more or less two years together with that one goal in mind. We’ve been good friends since really. When you do the team pursuit and you’re away on training camps together with four or five guys, it’s pretty intense and you go through a lot together and that always stays with you. Hopefully he can end his pro career nicely in Roubaix.”
After his recent success, Thomas has taken on the responsibility of Team Sky’s sole leader for the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, and has been touted as the big favourite for the 264 kilometre race. It’s a position that is new to him and he is grateful to have Wiggins and Ian Stannard by his side.
“It’s massive. It’s flattering as well. It’s a big compliment for people to be mentioning my name as a potential winner,” explained Thomas. “I think Brad’s already said that he’s happy to get stuck in and do his job. I think having someone like him to help keep you near the front near the end of the race, there’s no better guy physically especially when he is up for it. It’s great to have him around; it’s the same with Stannard. I think that they’re both happy to play that role on Sunday and then we’ll talk about Roubaix afterwards.”
The tables are set to turn a week later as Wiggins rides his final race with the team at Paris-Roubaix. However, with Thomas so dominant in recent weeks, questions were asked if he would like to attempt the double and take on Roubaix but he brushed such inquiries off, saying that the elder of the two would have his backing on that day.
“Brad’s the guy for Roubaix at the moment. We haven’t really sat down and spoken about it but he’s targeting that and usually when he’s targeting that then he’ll have pretty good legs,” said Thomas. “I think for myself I think that this weekend is the one that I’d prefer to do well in. It suits me a bit better and it’s the one I’ve been thinking about all winter.
"I haven’t really thought about Roubaix, obviously Monday morning you start thinking about that but when it comes to the leaders. Roubaix is the same as Sunday and a lot can happen and I think it’s good having Stannard, Brad and myself, three good guys who can be up there will help a lot.”
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