Team Sky has had little to cheer of in this year’s Tour de France. Their team leader and the race’s defending champion quit in the first week and their plan B faltered with illness soon after. It’s unclear where Geraint Thomas ranks in the alphabetical team hierarchy but the sole British rider left in this year’s race heads towards Paris with his morale, confidence and ambitions well set.
Thomas was supposed to be a cornerstone in Chris Froome’s title defence but once the defending champion abandoned and Richie Porte cracked due to illness, Thomas has been left off the leash. There have been breaks and spirited displays in the mountains and at one point he was Team Sky’s best placed overall rider in 16th place.
Perhaps scant consolation for the team as a whole given their ambitions, and Thomas may have suffered his first bad day as the race navigated to Pla d’Adet, but the Welshman has taken confidence from his overall performance.
"Today was my bad day. I knew that it was going to come with the amount of work I’ve been doing since the start. I just had hoped it would have come on stage 19 or 21. I was just empty today and it was about survival. Once I got to the penultimate climb it was about riding at my own pace and just staying there and getting to the finish as easily as possible," he told Cyclingnews.
"Overall the Tour has been really good. It’s been good for my morale, it’s been good for my confidence ahead of next year. It feels like I’ve done a lot of work on the flat days and everyday it feels like I’ve been doing something for the team. To be able to keep doing it – apart from today – feels good.
Thomas dropped six places overall from 16th to 22nd yet he looks on course for his best finish come Sunday’s finish in Paris. That being said this year’s Tour is also about Team Sky and Thomas looking to the future as well.
"Next year I really want to look at some of the week-long races and try and get some results in them," he said.
Asked if he could one day contemplate leading a team in a three-week race, Thomas answered: "I’d like to think so. If was protected here from the start I’d like to think that I’d be in the top ten or very close anyway. I was around 16th coming into today and obviously I lost a lot of time today but I don’t think it’s out of the question."
"After losing some weight I can go up hills a bit quicker and then being able to back it up day after day with that consistency. There’s that confidence too in that I know what I’m doing now."