Geraint Thomas says the race has been “disappointing” at the weather-affected Giro d’Italia, but he is looking ahead to the final weekend in Rome.
The combination of heavy rains, the cancellation of Covid and a very crowded route until the final week has defeated the competition.
Thomas has learned from former teammate Richard Carapaz what cost him last year’s title.
But this year’s top contender believes all that is about to change this week.
This year’s Giro has been ruined by bad weather, heavy rains are causing serious problems such as illness and accidents for the riders.
So far, 44 riders have withdrawn from the race, most through Covid-19, including the Belgian Remco Evenepoel of Soudal Quick-Step, who left the race after the ninth stage.
“I’m a little disappointed. I’ve always wanted to test myself against other guys, but the conditions so far have been a little confusing,” Thomas said on Monday’s day off.
“There have been days when, on paper, there seems to be opportunity but there are challenges.
“The starting power of the peloton is much stronger than it was. A long attack like Froomy [Chris Froome in 2018] it is very rare. Carapaz lost the race last year because he went crazy 60 or 70km out. He used all that energy and paid in the end.
“I want to run but I don’t want to just fight for fun and blow myself up and someone else benefits from it.
“Everyone is talking about last week, the finish of the mountain and the time trial this week. There are some big days coming up.
“We believe the competition is about to heat up and we will be on the right side of it.”
Thomas says he is surprised to be in the position because his preparation was interrupted by illness at the beginning of the year.
The Welshman was set to sit out the final weekend and lost team-mates Filipe Ganna to Covid and Tao Geoghegan Hart. to danger.
But Evenepoel’s long-term trial and withdrawal, also Covid, saw him take the pink jersey for five days before he was sensibly handed off on Saturday to current manager Bruno Armirail.
“The onus is now on others and everyone will want to find time, especially before the time of the mountain during the test. Every opportunity that everyone sees, they will try to seize it because anything can happen in the TT,” he said.
The 2018 Tour de France winner will have famous support on his way to Rome – it seems the Wrexham footballers aren’t the only Welsh footballers to have received help from Hollywood after actor Ben Stiller offered his support.
Thomas said: “I knew he followed me after sending a few messages at the Tour last year. It was crazy to get a few messages back. The Giro organizers are trying to get him to come to Rome, which would be nice. Nice.”
Tuesday’s stage 16 is 203km from Sabbio Chiese to the end of the mountain at Monte Bondone.
- 1. Bruno Armirail (From/Groupama-FDJ) 61hrs 38mins 6sec
- 2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +1min 8secs
- 3. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 10secs
- 4. Joao Almeida (Author/UAE Team Emirates) +1min 30secs
- 5. Andreas Leknessund (Nor/Team DSM) +1mins 50secs
- 6. Damiano Caruso (Winner of Ita/Bahrain) +2mins 36secs
- 7. Lennard Kamna (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +3mins 02secs
- 8. Eddie Dunbar (Ire/Team Jayco AIula) +3mins 40secs
- 9. Thymen Arensman (Ned/Ineos Grenadiers) +3mins 55secs
- 10. Laurens De Plus (Bel/Ineos Grenadiers) +4mins 18secs