Geraint Thomas is relishing the challenge of the final week of the Tour de France, with the battle for the yellow jersey looking set to go down to the wire.
The Welshman retained second place overall following a tough pair of Pyrenean mountain tests and was buoyed by a strong finish to the Prat d’Albis climb. Thomas regrouped on the first-category slopes, eventually overhauling and putting time into race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
With the general classification closing up ahead of a trio of mountain stages in the Alps, including team-mate Egan Bernal in fifth place overall, Thomas is keen to get back on the bike and put a self-confessed bad day behind him.
Speaking on the race’s second rest day he explained: “Obviously yesterday I said on the radio I didn’t feel great into the last climb. As it turns out I did feel great at the top. The main thing going into the Alps is that I feel motivated to get there and to try and finish this Tour off well. It’s been a slightly up and down year, and race, compared to last year. The main thing is that I finished strongly yesterday and I’m itching to go now. I much prefer the Alps and I’ve got a lot better memories there for obvious reasons. I’m just looking forward to it.”
“On the Tourmalet I wasn’t feeling 100 percent. Yesterday I finished really strongly. If that is my bad day, to lose 30 seconds on the Tourlamet is quite a good day really. As (Team Principal) Dave (Brailsford) says, you win a Grand Tour by being good all the way through and managing your effort, rather than going into that deep, deep red zone often – save that for the final day or two. I feel like I’ve managed that effort really well so far and I’m feeling good for it.
“Altitude-wise, in training in Tenerife the drop-off in watts is never really as much as most people. The heat is the same for everyone. I’ve ridden in that heat Down Under numerous times and over the years got used to it.”
With a tight battle at the top of the general classification and a number of teams looking to impose themselves on the climbs, Thomas is comfortable with the race situation and the differing way the team has approached the mountains thus far.
He added: “We’re second and fifth on GC. Okay we’re not in the yellow and we’re not riding on the front all day every day. There’s more than one way to win the Tour. This situation is completely different. We don’t have to pull when there’s other teams who want to do it as well. We’re in a super strong position. Everyone has ups and downs. It’s how you deal with that and I’m confident we’re all in great shape and in a great position – looking forward to some big Alpine climbs.”