2012: Geraint Thomas — All for the London Olympics now

Exclusive: VeloUK talks to Olympic Champion Geraint Thomas who is now focused on the track until the London 2012 Olympics.

Link: Revolution 34 Report/Results/Photos

Welsh rider Geraint Thomas has shown with his victories on the road, including the British Road Race Championship, that he is one of the top professional riders in the World. Not just because of the way he rode in the Tour de France White jersey, but also his performance in the Tour of Flanders was certainly an example that like Mark Cavendish, he too could be winning a cycling ‘Monument’ in the not too distant future.

This is what its about, Team Pursuiting with your mates – Geraint Thomas leads Ed Clancy on the way to winning the World Title in 2008. Thomas says doing the same in 2012 will be tougher …

The 25 year old, speaking with VeloUK at the Revolution track meeting, looked good on the boards but then so he should after the first week of the Dan Hunt Manchester Boot Camp. While the likes of Sir Chris Hoy and the sprinters are sunning themselves in Perth, Australia, the Endurance men are ‘manning up’ in Manchester with mammoth training sessions under the watchful eye of coach Dan Hunt and GB chief Dave Brailsford.

The Olympic Team Pursuit champion from Beijing in 2008, admits the week has been a bit tough though!

“It was hard at first. Just the way the track training programme works more than anything. It’s all regimented and structured which is very different to what I am used to. The last few years on the road I’ve been able to do things at my own speed and be left to my own devices to do what works for me on my own and then turn up at a race and race it.”

“That has worked for me the last few years but the Team Pursuit is a team environment and we’re on the track for 8am and then here all day, drill after drill with Dan walking the line. I’m enjoying it though. It’s good to be back with the lads and this is the build-up to the Olympics so it’s exciting stuff!”

Riding the cobbles and the road will take a back seat to his Olympic ambitions in 2012.

Whilst Bradley Wiggins has seemingly ruled out returning to the track after doing the Olympic road events, and the schedule doesn’t do him any favours at the Olympics so that’s not surprising, Geraint Thomas is at an age where  he’s ok committing to the Team Pursuit and missing probably most of the road season with Team Sky.

“I’m going to miss the Tour de France and the Spring Classics which shows just how much I am willing to commit to it. Winning a Gold in London would mean everything next year and I’ll do everything I can to achieve that.”
“We know the Aussies, Kiwis and Russians have moved on. We know how to go ‘53’ but we want to go faster and so it’s about going into the unknown a bit. We’re breaking the race down and seeing where we have to improve and what training efforts we can do. It’s not about just going with the flow and thinking a few months down the line, ‘oh crap, we should have done that’”.

“It is hard to come in from the road and just drop in especially after a long season. A lot of the road guys are on their breaks and just getting back into it where I’m here going flat out lap after lap. It’s what I want though and we have to put in the hard yards.”

“Brailsford has been here every day and it’s good to have him around and keeps the boys on their toes. It shows how much this means to the whole of the GB team.”

After the Track Worlds last year, the team boss, Dave Brailsford, talked of missing the Track Worlds which had that been the case, it would have given Thomas the chance to go for something like Flanders where he could have done something special like he did this year where he had to work for Flecha and still finished 10th.

Geraint Thomas was back on the track last weekend at Revolution 34 and will be in a ‘boot camp’ now for a few weeks.

Asked whether he could fit in the Classics before concentrating on the Olympic Track event, Thomas says “No, not really. The Track Worlds in Melbourne is a big hit. I think we have to go there and do well.”

“If I was riding the Individual Pursuit and only that, then yes, perhaps I could miss the Track Worlds and do the Classics but for the Team Pursuit, it’s important we have our best team there. To go  down there and race the Aussies and showing them what we can do. For sure it will be a hell of a lot harder than the Gold we won in Beijing”.

“The Aussies  have moved on considerably and they are probably the favourites right now.  We are not thinking about what they can do though. It’s about what we can do and we’re concentrating on how we can train to go faster. We’re confident that if we do everything right and give it 100 per cent every day, that will be enough.”

“I will still get to race in the Tour Down Under and then have a similar start as I had this year with the World Track Cup (London), Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo and then out to Oz for the Track Worlds.  I also hope to do the Giro which I did before Beijing and then a few specific road races where I can find my track legs.”

“Everything is for London now!”

Ever the one to have a laugh, ‘G’ walks the line for his teammate Peter Kennaugh at Revolution 34.

Post London ambitions…
After the London Olympics, Thomas says that the road will then again become the big focus.
“I had an opportunity in Paris Nice and unfortunately I crashed three times but I have moved up in the  team’s  pecking order and I will definitely be having more of a free role going into these races which I’m really looking forward to.”

“It’s good that Matt Hayman has decided to stay as he’s key to that and it’s going to be massive for me after the Olympics. 2012 is going to be massive of course but the years that follow are also going to be really exciting to go after and I’m ready to take on that challenge.”

Good luck to Geraint …

Interviews from VeloUK

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