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Geraint Thomas: Pogacar and Roglic can definitely be beaten

Great Britains Geraint Thomas R wearing the overall leaders yellow jersey and Great Britains Christopher Froome C rides through the socalled Dutch Corner in the ascent to lAlpe dHuez during the twelfth stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between BourgSaintMaurice Les Arcs and lAlpe dHuez on July 19 2018 AFP PHOTO Jeff PACHOUD Photo by Jeff PACHOUD POOL AFP Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images
Geraint Thomas on his way to Tour de France victory in 2018 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Geraint Thomas has yet to unveil his 2022 plans and his new contract at Ineos Grenadiers has yet to be signed but the former Tour de France winner is confident that he can compete with the best riders in the world over three weeks.

Thomas is already back in Monaco and back in training to prepare the 2022 season. His bike was stolen during one of his first rides but French police quickly reunited him with his Pinarello, and he has been ramping up his rides.   

It’s highly likely that Thomas will remain at Ineos Grenadiers for next year, with most teams already full and unlikely to consider increasing their budget to accommodate the veteran rider. All indications coming from both the Welshman and his team suggest that only minor details need to be finalised on a contract extension. Ineos will gather in Mallorca for a training camp between December 7-17.

Speaking at the Rouleur Live event in London earlier this month, the all-rounder looked back on his 2021 season with mixed feelings.

"It was a good start, probably the best start I've had for a long time," he said. 

Thomas kicked off his campaign with two stage races in France before riding Tirreno-Adriatico and then finding his form at the Volta a Catalunya, where he finished third behind teammates Adam Yates and Richie Porte. 

He backed that up with the overall win in the Tour de Romandie, before taking a stage and third overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

However, crashes wrecked his Tour de France and he was out of contention after just a handful of stages. He bravely decided to stay in the Tour to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics but crashed several times and again during the Tokyo road race. He raced little in the second half of the season before pulling the plug in mid-September to rest and reset.

"Obviously, the Tour [de France], when I crashed on day three, was not ideal. And then the Olympics after that getting caught up in the crash there as well. But that's bike racing really, as we all know," he said.

While Thomas' contract situation remains unresolved, his teammate, and the rider who replaced him as the Tour de France champion, Egan Bernal, has already indicated that he will return to France next year. 

Ineos have gone two years without winning the Tour and both Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič have established themselves as the benchmark in Grand Tours.

"I think now we see the guys coming in from junior and U23 level are like professionals already, and they can step right in, as Pogačar has. Him and Roglič are setting the benchmark now and their teams are improving all the time. So it's pushing everyone to keep fighting, but that's what drives you as well, that competition," Thomas said.

"They can definitely be beaten. This sport is always evolving and changing, from equipment to the way you're trained, to diets. I think that all filters down from the pros to U23s and juniors."

Thomas does not know his future Grand Tour plans but appeared open to the idea of racing the Classics in 2022. 

He has not taken part in the likes of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders for several seasons but, before he established himself as a Grand Tour contender, he was seen as a candidate for a number of one-day races, especially after his solo win at E3 Harelbeke in 2015.

"I wouldn't mind doing something a bit different, especially now coming into the last few years of my career," Thomas said.

"The main thing is just enjoying bike racing and I want to race as much as I can. I’ve got to look at the Grand Tours and the routes and stuff to decide if that's something I want to do or maybe I'll do something a bit different, but I just want to enjoy it." 

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Daniel Benson
Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he 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 ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.