Geraint Thomas hopes for third time lucky in ‘crazy’ Giro d’Italia
day Merckx, the great Belgian rider, once said to be a champion cyclist was not just about ability but possessing a “talent for suffering”.
Geraint Thomas has certainly had his fair share of pain and misfortune, especially at the Giro d’Italia.
There is unfinished business for the Welshman in this particular Grand Tour after freak accidents in 2017 and 2020.
And the former Tour de France winner insists he lines up for Saturday’s Grande Partenza as “a contender”.
Merckx, the greatest of all Grand Tour riders, also said the day he started a race without intending to win was the day he could no longer look at himself in the mirror. He was 29 when he won the last of those 11 titles.
That day has not yet arrived for Thomas who, despite being 20 days from his 37th birthday, still has his sights set through those distinctive sunglasses at the “pointy-end” of the race.
“I feel I’m a contender. From training and the recent Tour des Alps, power-wise the numbers are looking good,” he said.
“The weight is always an issue for me and the Giro is early this year but it’s all about getting stuck in.
It’s been a frustrating year so far after a bacterial infection that hasn’t really left. But I’m coming into good shape and hopefully, I’ll be at my strongest come the final week.”
Nevertheless, a rueful smile breaks out when asked about his history with the Giro.
“I was in great shape in 2017 when, of all things, a police motorbike caused the crash that ended my race,” said Thomas.
“Then in 2020 a water bottle bounced out of someone’s cage in the neutral zone – not even the main race – which took me out and I fractured my pelvis.
“So yeah, it feels like the third time lucky this year. I’m not putting loads of pressure on myself but I’ve done everything I can to get here in good shape.