Tour de France: Geraint Thomas ‘no less hungry’ for victory

vertshock.com

Geraint Thomas feels he has nothing to prove in the 2022 Tour de France, but says he is “no less hungry” for victory.

Thomas, 36, was something of a surprise winner of the recent Tour de Suisse, prompting speculation over what role he will play for Team Ineos Grenadiers on next month’s Tour.

“I am pretty relaxed about it, it is all about getting there in the best shape possible,” said the Welshman.

The Tour de France runs from 1-24 July.

Thomas won the Tour in 2018 and came second the following year despite a run of bad luck.

He told BBC Sport Wales he would “love to win another” but at the same time was happy to help a team-mate if they had a better chance.

“Whatever happens I am not going to purposely lose time, so hopefully I will be there or thereabouts,” he said.

“It is the cards that the team have to play with, whether that is to purely help the other guys or to take a chance myself.”

Adam Yates and Daniel Martinez are top contenders for Ineos, but Thomas says Martinez “was not quite where the team was expecting” in Switzerland, while Yates contracted Covid halfway through the race and had to withdraw.

“Danny, going into the race [Tour de France] you would have thought he has the calibre to win, same with Adam, so we have got three guys who can all perform really well,” said Thomas.

“But we all know what the Tour is like, that first week is just crazy and with the cobbles this year and some windy stages, it is more of a case of get through that first week and see where we stand.

“It is not out of the question but I would be quite surprised if three of us were all in the top 10 after the first week, just because how dangerous it is with all the crashes.

“Plus that first week is not necessarily suited to Adam or Danny really, but then you have got all the mountains to come after that.”

Ineos Grenadiers

Thomas says he is “definitely in good nick” heading to France 15 years after making his first appearance on the Tour.

“The first time it was all new and I was just going there to experience it, now I am going there to hopefully animate the race and be part of the racing in the real crunch points,” he said.

“It is the biggest bike race in the world, what every kid dreams of and what every pro dreams of really.

“I am as excited as ever and you still get nervous.”

Thomas says Ineos’ morale is positive, describing the team as a “good group of lads who are enjoying racing our bikes”.

That bond will come into play when they take on the likes of Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic, who Thomas says have been the strongest riders over the past two years.

“I think having a strong team to take them on is our best chance of beating them,” he said.

“Man v man it would be super tough, but if we can use our strength and numbers, that is the best way we can win the race.”

Source : ESPN.com

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