Geraint Thomas: If I was lifting up a cobble I'd forget about this race

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) made up for the crushing disappointment of a mechanical spoiling his chance to win the Tirreno-Adriatico overall, moving himself up onto the podium in third place behind teammate Michal Kwiatkowski and BMC's Damiano Caruso.

In the final stage time trial, he unseated former teammate Mikel Landa, but the result was little consolation, however, for the latest in a string of bad luck events that has plagued the Welshman's career lately.

Thomas had a slim hold on the leader's jersey heading into the queen stage to Sarnano Sassotetto, but was in a good position when Landa kicked off the attacks, surrounded by Sky teammates. But a mechanical stopped him with 1km to go on the climb. He had none other than Chris Froome at his side to pace him to the finish, but even a five-time Grand Tour champion couldn't save the day. He ended the stage 40 seconds down on stage winner Landa, dropping to fifth.

In the 10km time trial, however, Thomas turned the tables on the Spaniard, who had a dreadful performance on the rain-slicked course. Landa lost 47 seconds to Thomas, trading places with him on the final overall standings.

"It's still a bit bittersweet in a way," Thomas said of the turnaround. "When you're in the position I was in you want to win. A lot of people have said to me, 'Don't worry, your hard work will pay off and your luck will change'. I still wanted to win this race, but that's how it goes."

Tirreno-Adriatico passed through Filottrano, the home town of Michele Scarponi, the following day, with the race paying homage to the Italian who died while training last year after being struck by a van driven by a distracted driver. That put Thomas' predicament into perspective.

"Finishing where Scarponi was from and things like that - it is just a bike race," he said.

His loss was not quite as devastating, perhaps, as the time Thomas crashed en route to Blockhaus in last year's Giro d'Italia whilst sitting second overall, or not even two months later when he crashed out of the Tour de France on the descent of the Col de la Biche on stage 9.

"I've kind of accepted it now. Something like that is a bitter pill to swallow," he said of his result this week. "I think as an athlete you always want more. I'm disappointed not to get second, but it was too much to make up.

"Last year I had all the bad luck in the major races, the Grand Tours. If I have all the bad luck in the week races now and good luck there I'll be happy. Hopefully it will even out."

Paris-Roubaix ambitions

Thomas has nearly completed his transition from Classics man to stage race favourite, and is eyeing the Tour de France as if he will be Team Sky's leader for the race, should Froome be handed a ban for exceeding the allowed limits of salbutamol in last year's Vuelta a Espana.

But first, he will dip his toe back into the Classics with a run at Paris-Roubaix.

The fact that there will be nearly 22km of pave in the route of this year's Tour de France stage 9 to Roubaix, he said, was a "nice excuse to do [Paris-]Roubaix".

"I talked the team into it because [the cobbles] are in the Tour. I'm really looking forward to that and getting stuck in, and be there for [Gianni] Moscon and [Ian] Stannard in the final."

If his form continues on the path it has been, Thomas could go into the Monument with more ambition than just being a good teammate. In 2014, after all, he finished seventh - just behind Peter Sagan - and in the group sprinting for second behind solo winner Niki Terpstra, who took home the famous cobblestone trophy.

"It's Roubaix. You look at the past winners and a lot can happen in that race. I should have good form, I don't think I'll be in the best shape possible for Roubaix - that sort of power - but good legs are good legs," he said. 

"If I was lifting up a cobble I'd forget about this race."

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