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Geraint Thomas: I had dark moments in what was mentally my toughest Tour de France

Geraint Thomas on stage 16 of the Tour de France
Geraint Thomas on stage 16 of the Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) will ride into Paris on Sunday and complete yet another Tour de France, but for the 2018 winner this year’s edition was one of ‘dark moments’ in what he has described as the toughest Tour he has raced.

The Welshman was speaking about the mental and physical sides of the race as he warmed down after his stage 20 individual time trial. He came into the race as a contender for the overall win having rediscovered some of his best form in years during the spring and early summer. However, his Tour de France began to unravel on stage 2 to Mûr-de-Bretagne where he lost time and then a day later when he crashed and dislocated his shoulder.

He was able to carry on in the race but his overall ambitions were ended on stage 8 when he came home in the grupetto on the first major mountain stage. Since then his race was focused on supporting teammate Richard Carapaz, who will ride into Paris in third overall. Thomas on the other hand, who will head to Tokyo on Sunday night to link up with the Great Britain team for the Olympic Games, will end the race well down on his pre-race ambitions. 

At the finish of the time trial, he talked about his troubles and the mental side of riding this year’s Tour.

“To be honest this has definitely been the hardest Tour de France I’ve done, mentally, as much as physically. Obviously, the race has been different this year, less controlled, and with crazy attacks and this and that. But mentally for it all to fall apart on stage 8 and then to keep going, up and down, it’s been tough,” he said.

“I enjoyed that today. I took it easy and just enjoyed the crowd, and just being on my own and not having to worry about crashes or people crashing in front of me or behind me or whatever.”

He was also asked by his former teammate, and now Eurosport commentator, Bernard Eisel, why he has persevered at the Tour after such a brutally tough opening half in the race.

“It’s just what I’m like, as a person and as a rider. I go all in whether it’s on the bike or in the pub. You’ve got to give 100 per cent. You can’t just quit and give up. I had some dark moments, don’t get me wrong but I had the team around me to help get me through,” Thomas said.

Thomas will ride both the time trial and the road race at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Out of contract at the end of the season, it’s not clear yet where the Welshman will race in the second half of the year, with the Vuelta a España unlikely to be part of his race calendar.

Daniel Benson

Editor in Chief - Cyclingnews.