Geraint Thomas will make a final decision on his participation in the individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire when he returns to Europe from this weekend’s WorldTour races in Québec and Montréal.
On placing second overall behind Ineos teammate Egan Bernal at the Tour de France, Thomas had identified the Worlds time trial as a late-season goal, but he is reluctant to claim one of the British berths in the event unless his form merits it.
Thomas took a break from racing in the immediate aftermath of the Tour before returning to action at the Deutschland Tour last month. His training programme was tailored towards the time trial in recent weeks, but he confessed that the physical and mental toll of the Tour impinges on the quality of a rider’s work at this point in the year.
"It was a goal, and I trained hard for a bit when I started back again but it’s tough to keep that consistency," Thomas told Cyclingnews ahead of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec on Friday.
"It’s tough off the bike with rest as well, because you kind of end up doing a lot of things that you’ve put off since before the Tour, just general life stuff. I’m keen, but at the same time I don’t want to do it just to be a part of the race or just to ride. If I do it, I’d want to be competitive to a point, so we’ll see how the next week goes really."
The race for the time trial title could be a particularly open one in Yorkshire, with 2018 winner Tom Dumoulin a definite absentee and reigning champion Rohan Dennis yet to confirm his presence.
"I think if I was top 10 it would be a decent result, I guess, but I don’t really like to do races now just to be top 10 - you like to be on the podium at least," Thomas said.
"We’ll see. We’ll see how I feel once I get back after this and in the few days after that."
Despite the Tour de France victory on his palmarès, Thomas retains a firm line in self-deprecation. At a press conference for the marquee names at the GP de Québec earlier this week, the Welshman smiled broadly when the compère used the term 'low profile' to describe his previous performances in Canada.
"I’ve probably only finished once or twice, it’s not the best record," Thomas admitted.
Before the start on Québec’s Grande Allée on Friday, Thomas was equally circumspect about his prospects this time out.
"I’ll just see how it goes. From November until the end of the Tour has been mentally and physically tough so when you switch off after the Tour, and it’s hard to get going again," he said. "I’ll just try to enjoy the races – I’ll try to finish – and do my bit for the team."
He eventually finished 97th, and will race again at the GP de Montréal on Sunday.
Thomas’ recent hiatus was arguably his first sustained break since the autumn of 2017. A year ago, amid the demands that befall a newly-crowned Tour de France winner, one season seemed to bleed almost immediately into the next. It was perhaps only when he cast off the mantle of defending champion in July that he realised how heavy the burden had been.
"Obviously, physically it’s hard after the Tour, but it’s more that mental and emotional fatigue, really," Thomas said.
"It’s been a totally different year, you know, with the Tour and stuff. You’re constantly doing interviews about the Tour and, even after last year, those few months after the Tour were great fun and stuff, but every other day you’re talking about the Tour and then you get back on the bike and you’re building up to that again. It’s not until you actually switch off afterwards that you realise how much it was."