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Geraint Thomas happy to compete in two grand tours as retirement looms

24 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Geraint Thomas. Photo Ineos Grenadiers.

Geraint Thomas admitted inching ever closer to retirement means he is happy to race in two grand tours this year as he looks to bounce back from his Giro d’Italia heartache in the Vuelta a Espana.

Despite a recurring bacterial infection hampering his Giro preparations, Thomas was in contention up until the penultimate day but he settled for second as Primoz Roglic claimed victory.

Thomas finished 10th in the men’s time trial at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Stirling this month but he can move on from that disappointment as he leads Ineos Grenadiers at the upcoming Vuelta.

It is just the second time Thomas has competed in two of the three big events in a calendar year, and he remarked that doing the 2015 Tour de France and the Vuelta was a “horrible” experience.

A 69th-place finish at the Vuelta eight years ago has been his only taste of the event but being at the “twilight” of his cycling career has channelled his focus.

“It’s quite hard being away from home,” the 37-year-old Welshman said. “I’ve got a young son and my wife at home, that’s tough.

“But it’s one of those things, it’s quite easy to commit when I know I’m at the very end of my career, the twilight of my career.

“I might as well commit to this now and see what I can do. Then I’ve got the rest of my life to chill and drink cocktails and look after Macs (his son).”

Contract talks

While he is one of the favourites for the general classification at the 21-stage Vuelta which starts in Barcelona on Friday with a team time trial, Thomas remains without a contract for next season.

He was in talks with Ineos before the Giro in May but was tight-lipped when asked for an update on Wednesday, as he said: “Nothing to say at the moment but hopefully soon.”

After competing in Scotland, Thomas revealed he headed to Isola in the French Alps alongside Ineos team-mate Laurens De Plus and their families to complete their Vuelta preparations.

“It was disappointing, I wanted to get a better result than that but that’s the way that race went,” Thomas said, reflecting on what happened in Stirling.

“I went up to Isola and had eight days up there with De Plus. We had our families up there which was nice, it didn’t really feel like a camp. I’ve come here ready to go and looking forward to it.

“I’ve been here once before but when I did the Tour and Vuelta, it was horrible, to be honest. I’m a bit more prepared this time. I’m looking forward to a solid race, it will be tough, that’s for sure.”

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7 months ago

His prodigy will be Aberaeron born Joshua Tarling who finished 3rd in the men’s time trial at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Stirling this month.

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