Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) dropped out of contention at the Tour de Romandie after a flat performance in the stage 3 mountain time trial. The Welshman clocked 27:43 over the 9.9 kilometres from Ollon to Villars but his effort was only enough to net him 27th place, with his teammate Egan Bernal taking the stage and Primoz Roglic doing just enough to retain the leader's jersey. With two stages remaining Thomas has dropped to 19th overall.
Thomas came into the stage third overall after the first three days of racing and would have been hoping for a strong performance in his first stage race since March's Tirreno-Adriatico. However, the Welshman was already in trouble on the lower slopes of the climb, and he found himself a minute down on provisional leader Richie Porte (BMC Racing) at the intermediate check after 4.4km of racing. By the time Thomas came over the line, he had conceded 2:33 to stage winner and teammate Bernal, leaving his overall podium chances in ruins.
"I just didn't have it," he told Cyclingnews as he rested against the barriers by the finish.
"I tried to start with a good pace but just didn't have it, and I cracked at about halfway. Certainly, with 3km to go, it was all about survival. The legs were fading and I couldn't hold the power and knew from there that I would be just limiting my losses. Early on it was mid to low 400s in terms of Watts. And I felt in control but after about 15-18 minutes, the legs started going and by then I was at high 300s, but you know that's nowhere near as quick enough."
Thomas came into the race with hopes of a top GC result. He was a consistent performer in the early-season stage races, and although his short foray into the Classics ended poorly, he still lined up in Romandie as one of the contenders for victory. Although every rider has the capacity to endure a bad day, the time lost to several potential Tour de France rivals will raise some questions for Thomas and his Sky management.
The Tour de France is still months away, and the Dauphiné comes first, but this time trial was a key marker for Tour form. When Cyclingnews asked where this performance came from, Thomas fronted up, and then raised his training as a consideration.
"I haven't been feeling super since I started racing again," he admitted.
"Today I had to try but I just didn't have it, and when you know that then your head just falls off a bit. It's never nice. I had no idea what was going on. I didn't have a radio and was just trying to pace it. I felt like I was going well in Tirreno but then having not raced for a while I think I just need to race a bit more because I lose my way a bit in training.
"I find it hard to have such big training blocks and have that focus and determination. You end up just going through the motions a bit. It's just one of those things but there's plenty of time until July, that's for sure. Maybe this is the kick that I need."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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