Geraint Thomas on Itzulia Basque Country: ‘Just what I need after a slow winter’
The 2018 Tour de France winner off to hot start at Basque Country: 'It's nice to be up there. It's better than expected.'
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Geraint Thomas is easing back into top racing form after a less than ideal winter for the Ineos Grenadiers captain.
The 2018 Tour de France winner is racing this week at Spain’s Itzulia Basque Country and starts Wednesday’s third stage poised for a podium run at fourth overall at 18 seconds back.
“It’s nice to be up there. It’s better than expected,” Thomas said. “Everyone knows it’s one of the hardest races on the calendar. Hard climbs, a lot of altitude, steep.
“It’s just what I need after a slow winter. On the way up, which is nice.”
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Thomas returned to racing last month at the Coppi e Bartali race in Italy to regain race rhythm following a winter that included shoulder surgery and a bout with COVID-19.
With speculation swirling about his place on Ineos’s Tour de France squad, Thomas is focused this week at the Basque Country tour to prove that he can stay with the best.
Thomas, 35, started off Itzulia with a strong ride in the opening day time trial, finishing fourth at 18 seconds back of stage-winner Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
Thomas said he held back slightly on the technical, twisting course set in the hills of the Basque Country.
“No risks, I obviously tried to ride it fast,” he told CyclingProNet. “I’ve learned my lessons enough from that in the past.”
On Tuesday, Thomas finished safely in the GC group, with teammate Adam Yates right behind him tied on time at fifth overall
“Just to get a good week of racing in the legs again, and work hard for the team,” he said.