Geraint Thomas is not yet ready to retire from competitive racing and has encouraged Giro d'Italia champion Tao Geoghegan Hart to make the most of his success.
Thomas told The Times newspaper about his advice to Geoghegan Hart: “I told him ‘just say yes to everything these next few months, do everything you can’.”
“Soak it up and if you do have a slightly slower February, March it’s fine.
- Why Bennett was denied Stage 9 win and relegated for dangerous cycling
- Sam Bennett relegated from stage win after 'shove' in the final kilometre
- La Vuelta 2020 Stage 9 - As it happened
“It’s so easy, especially in a successful team like ours, for everyone to be like ‘box ticked, well done, move on to the next one’. But you need to make the most of these massive moments, really enjoy them. You never know what’s round the corner.”
‘He’s a geezer, he and Bradley Wiggins’ – Brailsford on Giro Champion Tao Geoghegan Hart
Thomas was Ineos’ favourite going into the second Grand Tour of the year, after missing the Tour de France. However, a freak accident on stage three, when he collided with a dropped water bottle in the neutral zone, saw him fracture his pelvis.
Thomas blamed the excessive speed in the neutral zone.
“If there is one thing to take from it, it’s having a slower neutral zone,” he said.
“They are meant to just be rolling along but sometimes they are crazy. But other than myself I’m not sure anyone is too bothered about changing it.
It’s nobody’s fault. Water bottles, a lot are screw-on now. The old ones, the top would fly off but this stayed on and it was full so it’s like hitting a big rock.
“I’ve seen the footage. A freak thing. I had one hand slightly coming off the bars. It hits my back wheel and it throws me. And the full impact was on my hip.”
While Thomas was happy to help his team guide Geoghegan Hart to victory, the disappointment of his injury meant he could not face watching the event.
'Geraint would have been wiping the floor with everyone here': A modest Geoghegan Hart on GC chances
“I don’t want to sound bitter in any way,” he explained.
I just struggled to watch it. I wanted to come home and switch off. I still spoke to Swifty and the boys to keep tabs but I wasn’t going to sit and watch three hours of a race that was my big hit and I’d put so much into.
“For six weeks in the lead-up I’d only seen my son and wife for four days. I’d fully committed. My diet was nailed down. Ever since I’d sat down with Dave [Brailsford] after the [Critérium du] Dauphiné, I had breakfast, lunch, dinner all written down exactly what to eat, the amounts.
"To put all that hard work in and end with such a freak accident, that was hard to take. To not have the chance to show everyone how good I felt. I felt I was in the form of my life.”
Thomas wants to extend his stay at Ineos, with a year left on his current deal, but regardless he aims to ride in the Tour de France next year, make a proper fist of a Giro, and also to compete in the Paris Olympics in 2024. At 34, that would see him pushing the limits of even the best racers who have come before him.
“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating but I don’t see the fascination with age. If you can commit to spending time from home, the diet and training, there is nothing that says you can’t win grand tours in your mid-30s. What is the oldest winner?”