Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) has confirmed he will continue in the Tour de France despite dropping out of overall contention and suffering with the pain and crash fatigue of a bruising first week.
The Welshman lost 35 minutes and finished in the gruppetto in Le Grand-Bornand on Saturday but bounced back on Sunday’s stage to Tignes, riding with the GC contenders on the climbs and then teammate Richard Caparaz for a late attack on his podium rivals.
Thomas eased up when the attacks came in the final kilometres and finished 19th at 9:41 but with his morale and determination to ride on much higher.
“To be honest it was good to have a good day. After stage 8 my head was in a bucket to be honest. It was tough to take. It was pleasing to bounce back as I did,” Thomas told a select group of British media, including Cyclingnews.
“If I hadn’t bounced back yesterday, there would have been more discussion. But it’s the Tour, the biggest bike race in the world and I didn’t want to just leave.
“At the same time there’s also the Olympics and so it’s about weighing what is best. It’s six and two threes I guess. But by staying here, I’ve got massage, physio, a chef, everything is looked after. I can go easy on some days and deeper on others. I think training wise, that’s ideal.”
This is his Thomas’ 11th Tour de France ride and he has only failed to finish in 2017 after fracturing his collarbone in a crash on stage 9. He famously finished his first Tour aged just 21 and finished the 2013 Tour despite a minor fracture in his pelvis.
“I fight and go deep with everything, whether that’s a bike race or when out on the piss. That’s just the way I am,” Thomas joked.
“I’m not one to just give up easily. That’s the reason why I started yesterday. I thought it was going to be the same as the day before. But you fight, you give it everything and you can turn it around and come out better.”
Thomas went deep to fight the pain of his dislocated shoulder and a blow to the hip but is recovering and ready to face the fatigue of the racing.
He hopes to rest up on the flat stages across the south of France and perhaps target a stager or help Carapaz take on Tadej Pogačar and fight for place on the final podium in Paris.
Thomas will travel to Tokyo for the Olympic Games, where he will ride the road race and time trial for Team GB. However he admitted he was not mentally ready to take on the Vuelta a España, which starts very soon after Tokyo.
“The overall and or even the podium at the Tour is off the cards now. Now I’ve got to take it day by day but there’s still some great opportunities for myself and the team,” he said.
“There’s no pressure on me now here. I want to make the most of it and enjoy, I’m not going to have many more Tours in me, I’m 35 now.”
Thomas’ contract extension with Ineos Grenadiers has still to be finalised but he made it clear this will not be his final Tour, even if there is a possibility that he may no longer be the absolute team leader at the British super team.
“It’s not the last one,” Thomas said with pride. “My contract is up this year and the Paris Olympics (in 2024) would be a nice final big goal, so I’d maybe three more years.
“There’s certainly a couple more Tours in there.”
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