The cycling season is just around the corner and Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas is looking for a season which could show potential suitors that he is ready to lead a Grand Tour team.
You could argue that last season Thomas had a breakthrough year with the successful British team; he won E3 Harelbeke, a notoriously difficult Classic race, and then his performance in the Tour de France was remarkable in aid of eventual winner Chris Froome.
The talk of the off-season was whether the 29-year-old Welshman could now make the step up to be a GC rider this season. And if you ask me, he’s ready. If Froome wasn’t Sky’s main man, I would throw him in the deep-end this season.
People might say he doesn’t have enough experience at the top end of elite cycling; and that challenging for a Grand Tour is a whole different kettle of fish – but just watch some of his performances last year in the Alps and Pyrenees – the lad has got an engine.
Froome has just signed a new contract with Sky, which will keep him at the team till 2018; and in the off-season it was confirmed by Rod Ellingworth that Thomas or ‘G’ as he is known in the cycling community will be Sky’s backup GC rider this year.
What makes Thomas different to any other GC contender is his personality
I don’t want you to think that just G’s personality makes him a GC contender; it obviously doesn’t; I’d be kidding you if I said personality wins you a Tour De France. It doesn’t.
But if you read his new autobiography ‘The World of Cycling according to G’ you will get a superb insight into what the man is like; I know a few Welshman and there humour is second to none. And just reading that book you can see why Thomas is such a popular figure in the elite cycling.
But with Thomas he has that unique blend of a cracking personality and the skills of top-class cyclist, if you watch some of his performances in the Tour last year; you can see why many people are tipping him to one-day to lead a team of his own.
I urge cycling fans to take a look at Stage 10 of last year’s Tour, when Froome blitzed his rivals with a superb victory on the climb to La-Pierre-Saint-Martin. But in the background Thomas was there plugging away and stopping any potential attacks that were coming from rival teams.
He has the legs to compete on devastating climbs; and with his years experience on both the track and now road, his tactical nous is now becoming apparent.
G’s season will be tailored for a potential crack at the Tour
I can’t imagine Thomas tackling much of the early Classics this year; last year he rode quite a few of them, and even picked up a victory in the E3 Harelbeke.
I reckon he will still ride some of the iconic races such as Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders, and the Criterium du Dauphine. But I’m sure he will concentrate on the shorter stage races this year in a bid to hone his skills for the Tour de France.
He won’t be involved in the Giro D’Italia, as Sky named their provisional ten man squad last week, and new signing Mikel Landa will be heading up their GC bid.
I will be paying close attention to Thomas’s season this year; I’m a fan and I want him to succeed – if he doesn’t get a chance to tackle the podium this year, then next year might be the time to move on and find a team where he could fulfil his dream of challenging for the Yellow Jersey.
About the Author: Michael Stokoe is a second year Sport Journalism student studying at the University of Brighton, with aspirations of making a successful career in the world of Sport media. Michael is a lover of all sports, but his big passions are Cycling and Football. He also has a soft spot for other sports such Boxing and UFC – oh and by the way Michael is a huge reader, of anything sports and his collection of books is well over 50 now, a modest number but he´s getting there.