Less than a fortnight after crashing out of the Tour de France with a broken collarbone Geraint Thomas is already back in training as he refocuses on the final part of his season. The Welshman, who crashed out of the Tour but led the race for several days after wining the opening time trial, has described 2017 as both his best and worst season. As he recovers from his Tour crash, he will now target the Tour of Britain and the World Championships before hanging up his wheels for the year.
Now safely back home in Monaco after surgery on his collarbone, and some time off in Wales, Thomas spoke to Cyclingnews about his Tour de France. It was a race of highs and lows for the 31-year-old. On the eve of the race he announced that he had signed a contract extension with Team Sky and he duly won the opening time trial to put himself into the yellow jersey for the first time in his career. Despite some early crashes he led the race until the first mountain finish, before eventually crashing out on stage 9.
"That's the first time I've ever done my collarbone, so I'm officially a proper cyclist now. Or so I'm told. I'm taking ten days off the bike after my surgery but I'm doing a bit of work on the turbo for now," he told Cyclingnews.
With his surgery complete and his days spent on the sofa watching the rest of the Tour de France unfold, Thomas has had plenty of time to digest and process the last few weeks and months of his career. In April he looked on course for a strong Giro d'Italia – his first chance at leading Team Sky in a Grand Tour – but he crashed out before the race hit the most difficult mountains.
Crashes down to bad luck
Thomas' crashes both in the Giro and the Tour de France highlighted how vulnerable riders can be but also how quickly their fortunes can turn. Until the crash in the Giro – when a number of riders ploughed into the back of a poorly parked police motorbike – Thomas had stayed upright all year. That fall, however, began a chain of crashes that carried on until his Tour retirement. Such a run of bad luck might lead some riders to question themselves, but not Thomas. He admits he made mistakes but that luck played the biggest part in his falls.
"I had the one on the wet roads, the one with Peter Sagan, the one when I went over the hay bale and then the one I crashed out from. The first two I couldn't really have done anything about. The hay bale one, I just went into that corner too fast, and that was my fault. I hadn't actually crashed all year until my fall at the Giro with the motorbike. When I have crashed this year, I've done it properly.
With half a Tour and half a Giro in his legs many wondered if Thomas would head to the Vuelta in August for another crack at a Grand Tour. Chris Froome is targeting the GC and Thomas' climbing skills would certainly be appreciated by the team as they look to claim their first win in the race.
However, Thomas will skip Spain and instead focus on the Tour of Britain – which finishes in Cardiff this year – and the World Championships. The decision to skip the Vuelta comes down to several factors, not least the demands on Thomas to make his optimum racing weight for the third time in one season.
"I've been on it since November for the Giro, and then had to bounce back for the Tour as quickly as I could. I certainly did that but then the disappointment from that, and the extra time off needed for my collarbone, I just don't think I could bring it all together for another Grand Tour."