For the latest episode of the BikeRadar Podcast, we sit down with 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas to chat about his plans for the 2021 season, the hour record, his love for the Classics and his favourite climbs.
Thomas looks ahead to a 2021 campaign centred around the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and reflects on a 2020 season disrupted by a lack of racing before being cruelly cut short by a crash on stage three of the Giro d’Italia.
We ask Thomas about the departure of Chris Froome from Ineos-Grenadiers, how the team’s management can juggle the ambitions of multiple Grand Tour winners, and the arrival of Tom Pidcock. He also tells us about the launch of his new podcast, the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club.
Thomas’s new pod will see a different guest join the show each week, with Richie Porte sharing his insight on climbing, Sir Paul Smith discussing kit design, Rohan Dennis giving the inside track on time-trialing and Ed Clancy doing a deep dive on the team pursuit.
In the meantime, however, tune-in to the BikeRadar Podcast as Thomas joins us from his first training camp of the year in Gran Canaria.
We’ve included some snippets from the conversation below. Otherwise, make sure you subscribe through your usual podcast provider, and thanks for listening to the BikeRadar Podcast.
Geraint Thomas on the 2020 season…
Looking back, I did struggle last year with a lack of racing. This is my 15th year as a professional now and you get into a bit of a routine, but suddenly, with no races, I didn’t have that. I just kept training and got into a bit of a rut really, then started racing when I was already tired and it was a downward spiral.
…on being a pro through the coronavirus pandemic
As cyclists, we’ve been really fortunate, especially in our team. We didn’t get a pay cut and were still able to train and be around the team – a lot people haven’t been so lucky in normal life. You definitely don’t take that for granted.
Obviously for me, the season wasn’t great having that crash in the Giro, but when you put it into perspective, there are a lot worse things that can happen than crashing in a race.
…on the 2021 Tour de France
This year’s Tour has got two time trials in, which potentially suit me, and it’s obviously got the usual hard mountain stages. That still excites me and gets me out of bed in the morning. They’re proper time trials as well, not like going up La Planche des Belles Filles, which isn’t really a proper time trial, is it?
I’m looking forward to that, but obviously there are 19 other stages and a lot climbing as well. It will be as hard as ever – every Tour is – but having some proper TT kilometres in is definitely nice.
…on winning on Alpe d’Huez
It was just unreal. I won the day before so I was in the yellow jersey and it was already a great Tour. I was just super-excited to do Alpe d’Huez in the yellow jersey and wasn’t really thinking of the win.
No matter where you are in the race, whether you’re in the front group or the gruppetto, the buzz up there is just insane. It’s the most iconic climb for me. When you think of the Tour, Alpe d’Huez is the first climb that comes to mind, so to win up there wearing yellow is just insane really.
…on returning to the Classics
Those races were so good to watch as a kid, dreaming of being in them. They were the first races I did that were like the pros, going over to Belgium as a junior and riding Kuurne and Flanders, so I’d love to go back and do them.
You’ve got to be punchy for the Classics. I’ll have the endurance and can get the strength back, but it’s getting that punch back. You can make it to the final but to actually win those races, you need that big power.
…on his favourite climbs
Alpe d’Huez will always be number one, but after that? Something like the Tourmalet. It’s such a big brute of a climb and I’ve done it so many times now.
It’s generally mid-stage, so it’s not a decisive one, but it’s just so long. And it’s so high, so you can have all different weather on there. Then obviously there’s Ventoux. They’re the big three.
…on starting his own cycling club
We wanted to set up a club that everyone can get involved with. Young, old, big, small; just to set up a bit of a community. Some people, especially those new to cycling, might be a bit intimidated by joining a local club, but this definitely isn’t intimidating.
The past year has been difficult for a number of reasons, so we’ve set up a club that everyone can be a part of. We’ll do virtual rides on Zwift each week and maybe in the future a few real-life ones as well.
…on riding in a club as a junior
There was one ride where suddenly I was like, ‘I know this road, we are so far from home’. It was only about 30 miles but I just remember thinking, ‘I can’t get dropped otherwise I’ve got absolutely no idea how I’m going to get home and I’m probably going to die out here’.
Obviously, they wouldn’t have left me but at that moment you’re thinking, ‘Phwoar, how am I going to get through this?’ Then it started to sleet and snow. It’s a ride I’ll always remember.
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