Geraint Thomas left skin and Lycra on the tarmac in many exotic parts of the world, but the Welshman crashed with 10 kilometers remaining in the Olympics road race Rio five years ago, when in a potentially medal-winning position, is the one who left a particularly bitter taste in the mouthe. On Saturday, on the occasion of the opening of cycling in Tokyo, the winner of the Tour de France 2018 has what will probably be his last chance to throw the ghost.
" I don't know how to lose sleep over it now, but it was there for the taking, it was a great opportunity, "Thomas recalled on Thursday. He finished 11th, Belgian Greg Van Avermaet winning gold. "Like [the old Team GB psychiatrist] Steve Peters kept telling me, life is unfair, you don 't not get what you deserve. It was super frustrating and I would like to fix it on Saturday. "
There is also an unfinished business for the GB men's road racing team, who fielded a super-shaped Mark Cavendish in 2012 only to have the team's game plan fall apart,and who has not won a men's road race medal since Max Sciandri won bronze in Atlanta in 1996.
Thomas has been in the business for 13 years. thrown into the Olympic scrum in Beijing, winning gold in the team pursuit at the age of 22; On his return to London, his transfer to South Wales did not materialize and he had to pay this reporter for the train ticket. He won a second gold in the team pursuit in London in 2012, with the GB quartet setting the world record twice. These triumphs mean that getting a medal isn't the main stimulus this year, "but making the most of myself ".
Tokyo is the latest, and at 35, perhaps the last stop on an Olympic journey that Thomas can trace back to 1992, when he watched the Barcelona Games from the mat in the living room of his parents' house in Cardiff. It was the summer when Chris Boardman won gold on the Lotus bike, but Thomas, six, was most struck by the Games as a whole, the size and scale of the event as well as the drama of swimming and athletics.
Thomas thinks he has recovered from the dislocated shoulder which almost excluded him from this year's Tour de France on day three. "The shoulder is fine, the legs are the issue. I feel like I came out of the Tour well, I was able to take it easy the last three days. Once the Games are over, he will decide the rest of his season; he is in pencil for the Tour of Poland from August 9 to 15, and after that he could aim for the road racing world championships in Flanders.
Saturday, The four-man Great Britain team also includes Simon Yates, who like Thomas is recovering from the aftermath of a crash on the Tour de France that left him "bruised and smashed ", Tao Geoghegan-Hart, who just finished the Tour, and Yates 'other twin, Adam, who won the Volta a Catalunya in March. All are potential medalists, but with small national teams, the race The Olympics on the road is notoriously hard to predict. "We have a very good chance, it's about putting those parts together " said Simon Yates this week.
Very fresh after winning the two stages of the last weekend of the Tour de France, the Belgian Wout Van Aert will be the big favorite while the winner of the Tour, Tadej Pogacar, could well prove to be his greatest challenger; Tour 2020 finalist Primoz Roglic also rides, but it's unclear how he recovered from his accident on the Tour's opening weekend. World champion Julian Alaphilippe chose to stay home with partner and newborn, but 2016 medalists Jakob Fuglsang and Rafal Majka are on the liststart.
The course includes 4,865 meters of climbing, with the main action likely to begin when the race climbs the foothills of Mount Fuji with a little less than 100 kilometers to cover. "The last main climb is steep and difficult, it will definitely be a war of attrition," said Thomas. “There will be people going out all day. The final climb will decide it; there is 10km to go after the descent, but if a small group comes out ahead on the climb, they might stay clear. It won't be a lottery, but we will need a little luck. There certainly won't be any sprinters there, maybe Van Aert. "
Geoghegan-Hart thinks there are " probably 20-25 guys who could be nailed for a medal, "saying, " When we reach Fuji base with three hours to go, you'll probably see the race from there. If the cHeat and humidity are what we expect, it will be one of the most physically demanding races we will do this year, possibly in our career. "