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Deals on wheels and another stage win

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Geraint Thomas | 21:17 UK time, Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Wednesday was a great day for the team with Edvald Boasson Hagen winning his second stage of this year's Tour.

We wanted to get in the breakaways as it was highly likely the break would stay away to the finish, so me and Eddie were in the first break initially.

But there's so many different competitions going on, it's not just the overall - the yellow jersey. There's the team classement, the young rider, the points, the king of the mountains.

There was a guy from Leopard in the break with me and Eddie and there wasn't a Garmin rider.

Garmin are the leaders of the team classement and they ended up chasing, and there was about 45 minutes of just going off and trying to get that 'elastic' to snap but it never quite did and we got brought back.

Geraint Thomas is supported by fans on a climb in the Tour de France

Geraint Thomas is supported by fans on a climb in the Tour de France Photo:Getty

Then Eddie got in the next break, so it was a bit disappointing on my front that I didn't, but we still had Eddie up there and when I heard on the radio that he'd won it was a great day.

I've been rooming with him throughout this race and there's no better guy, so if it's not me on the podium he's my first choice to be up there.

So it's good to see him win and it was a great victory for the team.

I think Sky were quite careful when choosing the character of the team and obviously there's a lot of good riders out there.

But I think it works better if maybe you don't have the very best but if there's somebody who works well in the team and morale's high and confidence is high, then that's as powerful as somebody who is really strong.

We have got strong riders, don't get me wrong, but from last year our bond has really grown. Last year we were still a bit new to each other but now we've made that step forward and it shows in the results.

I've improved nicely from last year on the road and it seems to be the coaching staff and all the support we get is second to none really.

So it's great to stay with that by signing a new contract and with the other riders, we're genuinely good mates.

People like Swifty (Ben Swift) and Ian Stannard and I grew up with racing around in the UK and then obviously people like Eddie I've got to really know, and get on with really well.

So that was one of the major factors behind my decision to re-sign with Sky.
It's something that's been up in the air the last couple of months really, then all of a sudden word got out that my contract was up and a few teams showed interest.

I thought it would be wrong to discredit them by not listening to what they had to say and there's still a lot of good teams out there.

But at the back of my mind Sky is home with the British set-up and the guys in the team.

I definitely had a few good offers and it wasn't an easy decision but it was still what I wanted to do, and with the Olympics and things it is definitely the right place for me and just continuing that progression.

It wasn't like I was worried that I wouldn't get a contract, like some guys start stressing that they're not going to have a team.

For me it was the other way around really, I had too many teams!

It played on my mind for sure but at the end of the day I was in the Tour de France and the better I did, the more teams showed their interest.

That was good for the confidence and the morale, but once I'd shaken Dave Brailsford's hand and the deal was done I could forget about that.

The next three years are sorted and I can just get out there and enjoy the racing.

It's only two real tough days now, the time trial is tough but it's only an hour maximum of real hard work compared to five hours.

So we've got a few big climbs on Thursday, we go over 2,000 metres of altitude three times - they're high mountains and tough going.

Then we've got the legendary Alpe d'Huez on Friday, I raced it in the Dauphine last year and it was pretty special but I think doing it in the Tour is going to be another level.

It's one of those climbs, everybody knows it, it's got so much history and it'll be a real special day racing up that.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great Blog Geraint! Really nice to hear from somebody who is actually competing in the Tour de France. Its easy for us, nice and cosy in the couch at home, to watch and criticize you, not understanding the real effort and commitments been put into completing a single race let alone the entire Tour. Really good race by Hagen yesterday and it took some real courage for him to go out there alone in those narrow roads and his descent was fabulous comparing with some of the race leaders who had trouble navigating the bends and I was shocked to see Voeckler go off the road and very nearly down the cliff. Wish you and Team Sky the best of luck in the next two races.

  • Comment number 2.

    Congrats on re-signing G, Not surprised at all that others were showing an interest in you after performances so far.

    I think the "spirit" within Sky that you mention is obviously important and is probably a large reason for the upturn in performances from last years Tour. Same riders in the main but a different "feel" to it.

    It's typified that although we only saw 4 riders by the side of the road when Brad got hurt, the rest of you were a few hundred yards down the road also waiting.

    The highlight of the tour for me, (in terms of Sky at least), is that so many different riders have come to the fore at different times since Brads exit and it was intersting to hear/read the comments from Swifty where he mentioned that he found the mental stress harder than the physical stresses during his first few stages, (something that I had not really considered).

    I would just like to thank and congratulate you all on what you have done so far and even with the loss of Brad there seems to be an enormous increase in TdF awareness this year that I put largely down to Team SKY's involvement. It's hard to quantify this but it is a little like watching the Champions League and then enjoying it more because your own team is finally there.

    I have always followed riders in the TdF in the past, (and still do), but now I have a UK team as a sort of default team to follow, (irrespective of where Si, Flecha, you, Swifty, Uran or the others are from). It ceases to be of any concern to me at all once they are wearing that SKY jersey.

    Thanks again.

    Now all we need is more cycling on TV. Any chance please BBC?

  • Comment number 3.

    It's interesting to hear that you listened to the other team's offers. If someone like Saxo Bank or Leopard Trek had come and offered you a great deal would you have considered it or was it more out of respect that you didn't just tell them to go away and you were always going to stay with Sky?

    Also, I don't know how much coverage of the Tour you're aware of when you're part of it but what do you make of Andy's comments re the descent into Gap on Tuesday? Sour grapes or genuine concern?

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Geraint,

    It's great to hear that you've signed for Sky for another 3 years. It must have been tough to turn down some strong offers from other teams. I believe it will greatly benefit you with the 'British set-up' for the 2012 Olympics and I am confident that you can win gold again as you did in 2008.

    I was wondering what your ambitions are for next years Tour De France, as the Olympics are only 10 days afterwards? Will you compete or miss out on it, so you can just focus on London 2012?

    I was also wondering whether you use any sort of energy/caffeine gel and is it effective, as I have seen many riders using these in this years Tour.



  • Comment number 5.

    Your an inspiration Geraint. Looking at where your best to develop, and how the team are developing is great, because it is easy for all the rider's to jump ship and move to a more established team which has more experience than Sky.

    I do believe Sky will be a class team, and it wouldn't surprise me to see other top British Cyclists join Sky aka Cavendish.

    Keep up the good work :)

  • Comment number 6.

    Good stuff Geraint, congrats on the new contract.

    The best thing to come out of Bradley's accident is it's allowed some of you guys to come to the fore a bit more, and I'm sure plenty of teams have taken note of your brilliant performances this year.

    EBH looks in sensational form at present - he didn't even seem tired at the end!

  • Comment number 7.

    Congrats on the the new contract Geraint, you deserve it.

    Not much to say apart from what the others have said before.

    What implications do you think it would have on the teams focus and performances were Mark Cavendish to join Team Sky?

  • Comment number 8.

    Does anybody know how Mark Cavendish got on today in the mountains? I dont expect the BBC to mention it , because he does not play football for a Conference League side. But I am interested to know if he completed and is still in contention for the "green jersey".

  • Comment number 9.

    Caxendish finished just outside the elimination time, but was in a massive group so was reinstated. He did lose 20 of his points though!

    Great blog Geraint, can't help thinking with such a strong team andclose racing around them that sky's wiggins could have had a real shout of winning the tour, however fab to see Tommy in Yellow!

    Allez Thomas and Thomas!

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Geraint, congratulations on the new contract! I've been really impressed this Tour with the way you've ridden, in particular up the Tourmalet, but also for all the work done leading out teammates and supporting Rigo in the mountains like today.

    Quick question, what would mean the most to you, winning a monument like Paris-Roubaix, Olympic Gold in the Team Pursuit in London, or a stage of the Tour de France?

    Best wishes for the rest of the Tour, not long until Paris!

  • Comment number 11.

    Does anybody know how Mark Cavendish got on today in the mountains? I dont expect the BBC to mention it , because he does not play football for a Conference League side. But I am interested to know if he completed and is still in contention for the "green jersey".
    Dont be an idiot foscari. The Beeb have mentioned Cavendish in pretty much every single day's stage articles.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Geraint
    congratulations on a great tour for you and your team. We are proud of you up here in south Wales. Any chance of you getting a stage win?
    Main concern: I think you are already thinking too much about the Olympics. If I were you, I would concentrate on the Tour next year, and use the Olympics as a bit of a larf. Who remembers an Olympic cycling champion? Noone. Except for NicoleCooke, but she is different, as hardly anybody outside cycling knows her as a Tour Feminine rider. The Tour is the greatest sporting event in the world, Tour winners, even stage winners, are far better known and respected than Olympic champions.
    Best wishes and best of luck, don't fall off! Geraint am byth!

  • Comment number 13.

    Congrats Geraint - no surprise that there was a lot of interest from other teams.

    For me you are already one of the strongest all-rounders in the peloton. To be 10th in the Tour of Flanders and now in the top 30 of the Tour de France is very special! I don't think there are many riders out there who are capable of that, and you are constantly improving.

    Will you be going for a good result in Flanders again next year do you think, despite the commitments later in the year? Yourself, Flecha and EBH must be a force to be reckoned with. Also, do you think that Milan - San Remo could be a race that could suit your abilities, if you have an edition where it's as high tempo over the climbs as this year's when it ended with a small group sprint?

    Good luck for the rest of the Tour!

  • Comment number 14.

    Thanks for all the nice messages guys. And to all the people out here in France waving their Welsh and British flags. The support has been unbelievable!!

    Bigsportsblog, I'd still consider a top teams offer. But like I said at the end of the day Team Sky is the best place for me especially with the Olympics next year.

    With Andy’s [Schleck] comments, I just think it is sour grapes. The descent wasn’t more dangerous than any other really. It's just that he can't go downhill very fast. Not every stage is going to suit him...

    I'm not sure about the tour/Olympics conflict, harrygwilliam. I don't think I will make a decision until the winter training camp

    But answering questions from Jack Simpson and Impossible is nothing, I think it would be good for the team if Cav joined.

    He is the fastest man in the world so to lead him out in the tour and other big races would be good for the team. It would be harder at the tour with Brad going for GC as well but if the right riders are selected I think it could work.

    And don’t worry foscari, Cav is still in the race and in green. I think a win in Paris will seal it.

    I think Brad would have been really good and we could have supported him well. But that's bike racing and the early stages still matter, even though everyone goes on about the mountains.

    Sebastein, I’m not sure if you are serious or not but I want to win an Olympic gold in London, our home Olympics. They mean a bit more to me than just a 'laugh'. I still have plenty of years on the road and I don't train everyday in bad weather to be better known or respected.

    And lagetcher, yes I think I could do well in San Remo. I'd love to. It's a great race. And yes I would also love to do Flanders again and better my 10th of this year. Exciting times!!


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