Tour de France 2014: Geraint Thomas encouraged by fightback

Wales' Geraint Thomas said mechanical problems thwarted his attempt to win the British Cycling National Championship road race in Abergavenny.

He blamed "bad luck rather than bad legs" for his eighth-placed finish behind winner Peter Kennaugh.

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It's all about Froomey [Chris Froome] and trying to finish in Paris with him in yellow

Geraint Thomas

Thomas, 28, said his recovery during the race is a boost ahead of the Tour de France, which starts on 5 July.

"It's quite satisfying knowing I was able to get back to the front even when I was on my own," said Thomas.

With defending champion Mark Cavendish absent from the men's race with bronchitis and Sir Bradley Wiggins pulling out through injury, the scene was set for double Olympic track champion Thomas to win on home soil.

However, he said: "For me it went bad straight away.

"I had a mechanical problem at the bottom of the climb at the Celtic Manor, so I was well out at the back and the race had just gone.

"Stuff like that shouldn't happen, but it did and there's nothing you can really do.

"At least the good thing is it's not the fact it was bad legs, it was bad luck with the mechanicals."

As the race entered Abergavenny, the Team Sky rider launched a solo attack in a bid to reel in the leading pack.

At one point he had closed the gap to 50 seconds, before eventually drifting further behind.

Team Sky Tour de France squad

Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve, Bernhard Eisel, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Danny Pate, Xabier Zandio.

"I was chasing 25km or so on my own, then actually got back to the front and that's when the attack started on the climb and I didn't really have the legs," said Thomas.

"I needed to recover for a bit before I could go for that."

Thomas is confident he will not have the same mechanical issues going into the first stage of the Tour de France, which begins in Leeds on Saturday.

He said his focus is on helping defending champion and fellow Team Sky rider Chris Froome retain his title.

"Everything I do there will be for Chris [Froome] and getting him through that first week the best as possible," said Thomas.

"Similar to the cobblestone stage in 2010, if the opportunity was there to go for a little result in the last 10km of stage five then I have to try and take it.

"But I'm not going into the stage thinking that - it's all about Froomey and trying to finish in Paris with him in yellow."