Geraint Thomas has confirmed that, when he retires from professional cycling, he intends to take up triathlon and race in Ironman events.
Thomas' interest in the sport came to light in 2018 when Cameron Wurf, a former pro cyclist turned triathlete, revealed he'd been training with Thomas and they'd been swimming and running as well as cycling.
Ironmans consist of a 3.86km swim, followed by a 180.2km bike ride and a 42.2km full marathon run.
During an on-stage interview at Nytro, a triathlon company in California, where Thomas has been training with Wurf this month, the Team Ineos rider confirmed his plans.
"I used to swim as a kid, and I did a few triathlons. When I retire from professional cycling, I definitely want do an Ironman, or maybe a few," he said.
"I'll do the Wales one first - the bike course is supposed to be quite hard so that could play in my favour."
Thomas is 33 and turns 34 in May. When discussing the change of direction, he suggested he will continue cycling for 'three or four years'.
"I think I'll need something when I stop, because if I stop in three or four years... this is my 14th year now, so I could end up doing 18 years as a pro. Then before that I did two years as an amateur, and as a junior, cycling is your life then as well, so it's 20-odd years where that's all you do and that's all you think about, and you've always got a goal within two or three months," he said.
"To stop and not have anything would be tough, so why not an Ironman?"
In 2018, Wurf revealed he'd been training with Thomas, having become friends through Team Ineos. Wurf rode at WorldTour level with Canndondale in 2013 and 2014 after rowing at the Olympic Games, and before becoming a triathlete. He is now coached by Team Ineos' head coach Tim Kerrison, and is a regular presence at team training camps throughout the year.
In 2018, he wrote a blog post recounting how, in a training camp in Monaco that August, shortly after Thomas' Tour de France victory, he had been struck by the Welshman's triathlon ability. Kerrison had added Thomas to their Ironman group chat and asked Wurf to bring him some swimming gear to the beach the following morning.
"I have to say when I turned around at the end of the 200m stretch of water we use at Larvotto Beach for our supervised open water sessions, I couldn't believe how close he was. He can definitely swim!" Wurf wrote.
"And as if that wasn't a surprise enough for one morning, following the swim he pulled his running shoes on with me for some speed work where he seemed at ease rolling along at 3:40/km pace, absolutely blew me away."
Thomas will target the Tour de France in 2020 and will race Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse in the build-up, with a season debut at the Tour de Provence or Volta ao Algarve in February.