Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) resumed his stage racing campaign at the Tour de Romandie with a solid sixth place in the opening 4.3-kilometre time trial. The British all-rounder finished five seconds down on stage winner Michael Matthew (Sunweb) but put time into a number of potential GC rivals, including Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates).
The course through the heart of Fribourg may have been short but it was punctuated with technical sectors, climbs, and cobbles. Thomas opted for a complete time trial set up in the end, after following teammate Luke Rowe in the car during the Welshman's race effort. The homework paid off.
"There was a lot to think about and that was a hard last final 800m. I think that I rode it okay, and got it all out, but looking back you always think that there were a few corners that you could have taken quicker," Thomas told Cyclingnews and Eurosport at the line.
Thomas arrived at the Tour de Romandie having raced a short Classics campaign. He crashed out of Paris-Roubaix but made it to the finish at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It was his first complete race since Tirreno-Adriatico in mid-March.
"I needed Liège in my legs really because it's been a while since racing. It was a tough course today though. Explosive, and bang, once you're out there it's done. It was like a track effort really."
Thomas is targeting the Tour de France this summer, although his role in the race remains unclear due to Chris Froome's salbutamol case. Froome could be sanctioned before the Tour if he is found to have violated the rules, and could miss the Tour as a result.
For Thomas, every race is important, especially in the lead up to July as he looks to cement himself as a possible alternative for Sky. The Romandie course certainly suits an in-form Thomas, although the Welshman highlighted his young teammate Egan Bernal as another option for the Swiss race. Leadership, and the GC could be decided on stage 3, a 9.9-kilometre uphill time trial to Ollon.
"At every race, you try and get the best result possible. Between myself and Egan… he was going really well at Catalunya until he crashed. We've two good options and a lot of it is going to come down to the mountain time trial.
"This race is obviously important but it's not the be all and end all. I'm feeling in decent enough form but it's just been a while since I've raced. Roubaix was cut so short but Liège really woke me up again. I've missed racing and it's good to be back. Whether I win or lose here, all that will be affected is a bit of morale ahead of a rest week."
Looking to next year, Thomas suggested that he would target the Classics once more, but with full focus on the Ardennes.
"It's given me that bug. I want to go and do the Ardennes week properly. It's all up in the air but the thinking is still to do the Tour, Vuelta, and then Worlds and the Italian races. I'll get enough racing in by the end of the year."
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