FILE PHOTO: Biking – Tour de France – Stage 20 – Libourne to Saint-Emilion – France – July 17, 2021 Ineos Grenadiers rider Geraint Thomas of Britain in motion throughout stage 20 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
July 22, 2021
By Martyn Herman
TOKYO (Reuters) – Geraint Thomas has achieved just about every thing in his illustrious profession with a Tour de France title, rainbow jerseys and two Olympic monitor gold medals in his locker.
However the Welshman needs a primary Olympic street medal and can get two probabilities within the subsequent week, first in Saturday’s street race, then once more subsequent Wednesday within the time trial.
The 35-year-old was vying for gold within the street race in Rio 5 years in the past however crashed right into a ditch on a treacherous high-speed descent with 10km remaining, ultimately ending eleventh.
Thomas isn’t any stranger to crashes and dislocated his shoulder on this 12 months’s Tour de France however continued on to complete forty second.
He hopes his luck could change this 12 months on what’s a formidable course on the flanks of Mount Fuji.
“I used to be there within the combine in Rio after which sadly crashed on the final nook of the descent and that put me out of it,” Thomas, who additionally took half within the time trial in Rio, advised reporters. “Hopefully it’s third time fortunate.
“I don’t lose sleep over it now however it’s nonetheless a type of issues the place it was there for the taking nearly. A fantastic alternative. However that’s the approach it goes.
“(Psychologist) Steve Peters was all the time telling me, life shouldn’t be truthful, you don’t all the time get what you deserve at that second. It simply occurred and it was tremendous irritating. Clearly I’d like to put that proper right here on Saturday.”
The 234-km course that includes 4,800m of ascent is not going to intimidate 2018 Tour de France winner Thomas.
And with 2020 Giro d’Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart and 2018 Vuelta de Espana winner Simon Yates and his twin brother Adam for firm, Thomas has a workforce to envy in his gold-medal bid.
“If we race nicely as a workforce, we have now a fantastic alternative right here,” Thomas mentioned. “4 actually good possibilities of a medal.
“So long as we talk nicely and race nicely, we will likely be in with an opportunity.”
Whereas having 4 riders every able to taking the gold medal seems to be a lift for the British contingent, it may additionally pose an issue by way of hierarchy.
Normally a nation may have one, presumably two, important riders with others working selflessly for the trigger.
However Thomas doesn’t see that as being a complication.
“Now we have all had barely totally different prep, however as soon as we get on the market the principle factor is there aren’t any egos,” he mentioned. “We talk with one another, we have now our plan, and attempt to execute it as finest as we are able to.
“With so small groups, with so little management, so much can occur, so much can go proper, so much can go fallacious. Simply get on the market and do our greatest.”
Thomas received workforce pursuit gold on the monitor in Beijing and London earlier than switching his focus to the street.
The Olympics stays a fantastic motivator, nevertheless, even when this 12 months’s version in Tokyo has been particularly difficult by a brief turnaround time after the Tour and by the COVID-19 restrictions in place in Japan.
“I bear in mind watching Barcelona 1992 mesmerised at dwelling with my mum and pop,” he mentioned. “So to symbolize my nation is a big honour, and I simply need to do the very best I can and hopefully win a medal, win a gold. But it surely’s simpler mentioned than executed, isn’t it?”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Modifying by Hugh Lawson)