Tour de France star Geraint Thomas returns to scene of London 2012 glory
Tour de France star Geraint Thomas reflects on his London Olympics glory ahead of Revolution events
He already has two Olympic gold medals to his name, but when Geraint Thomas looks back on 2015 it could well prove to be the most important of his career.
While the future might hold Tour de France wins and more Olympic medals, this year has opened the Welsh rider’s eyes to what just what is possible.
It’s the first time I’ve actually raced on the track since then as well. I’ve missed racing on the track, especially Revolution because it’s not like a World Cup or Worlds, it’s a bit more relaxed, a bit more fun, there’s a great atmosphere there
A Tour of Algarve win early in the year was followed by victory in the E3 one-day classic in Belgium before Thomas took to the roads of France for this year’s Tour.
There the Team Sky man was instrumental in helping Chris Froome to his second yellow jersey – finishing 15th in the general classification himself.
And it was those performances that have made the 29-year-old confident that he can one day lead the line and push for cycling’s biggest prize.
“It’s definitely been the best year of my career without a doubt,” Thomas said. “Going on with the Tour and with everything that happened there, being fourth until just a couple of days from Paris, it was more than I could have dreamt of really.
“It would be great to win the Tour one year but that’s easier said than done for sure. I’d love to just take my career as far as I can.
“I feel like last year if I’d looked after myself, if I was the team leader then maybe a top ten finish would have been really possible.
“It’s certainly opened my eyes to the future and potentially one day going there as a leader, if it’s not the Tour then the Giro or the Vuelta and trying to get an individual result myself.
“Before this year I would have probably laughed at you if you’d said that all to me. It’s given me a massive boost of confidence and morale. I’m excited about the future.”
While Thomas’ desires lay on the road in the long term, this weekend sees the Welshman concentrating on the track as he gears up for the Revolution Series.
Thomas claimed his second Olympic gold in the team pursuit in London after helping Britain to the top-spot in 2008.
But since then Thomas has focused all his attentions on the road – where he will look to add to his Olympic medal haul in Rio.
However, the chance to return to the capital’s boards for the first time for this weekend’s Revolution Series is one that he couldn’t pass up and he says it will be a surreal experience to be back on the track.
“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the Revolution Series, it’s the first time I would have done it since before the London 2012 Olympics,” Thomas added.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually raced on the track since then as well. I’ve missed racing on the track, especially Revolution because it’s not like a World Cup or Worlds, it’s a bit more relaxed, a bit more fun, there’s a great atmosphere there.
“The track is just so fast and the cadence and the speed you peddle at is just so much faster.
“On the road you can spend six hours going up and down mountains in all sorts of weather, while the track is indoors. It’s a lot faster and shorter and more intense. It’s probably a better spectator sport.”
Thomas won one of 12 medals at London 2012 – eight of which were gold – but while a return to the Lee Valley VeloPark will stir up happy memories, it is also a reminder that the bar is set very high for Rio.
And Thomas admits that Team GB certainly have a fight on their hands if they are to repeat the feat next summer.
“Being on the track brings up happy Olympic memories and does help turn attention to Rio, but you can’t stay at the top, winning everything all the time,” he added.
“Since 2007, where I think we won about six or seven golds at the Track World Champs and then Beijing 2008 was amazing, Manchester Worlds in 2012 was amazing and then obviously London.
“You can’t keep doing that. But hopefully they will start turning it around now this winter and they’ll come out firing. I’ve got all confidence they will perform in Rio.”
To watch Geraint Thomas in action at the Revolution Series in London and Glasgow you can buy tickets at www.cyclingrevolution.com or watch the action live on Eurosport. Full TV schedule on www.cyclingrevolution.com/eurosport