Geraint Thomas spurred on by bad memories of Rio 2016 Yorkshire News

OLYMPIC MISSION: Geraint Thomas from Team GB.  Image: John Berry / Getty Images.
OLYMPIC MISSION: Geraint Thomas from Team GB. Image: John Berry / Getty Images.

The Welshman, a double Olympic champion on the track, looked good for a medal in the road race five years ago before landing in a ditch on the final descent about 10km from the finish line.

“I’m not losing sleep now, but it’s one of those things,” said the 2018 Tour de France winner. “I was there to almost take it, it was a great opportunity, but that’s how it works.

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“(Team psychiatrist) Steve Peters always tells me that life isn’t fair and that you don’t always get what you deserve, but it was very frustrating and obviously I’d love to fix that on Saturday.”

Thomas is one of three Grand Tour winners on Britain’s four-man team for the 234km race, which begins at Musashinonomori Park and runs laps of a demanding circuit at Mount Fuji before finishing at Fuji International Speedway. .

Thomas is joined by last year’s Giro d’Italia champion Tao Geoghegan Hart, Simon Yates, winner of the 2018 Tour of Spain, and the latter’s twin brother Adam.

Although they face a field that includes Tour winner Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic and Wout Van Aert, the caliber of the British team compares well. But day races are always unpredictable, never more so than in an Olympic race where small teams cause a lack of control at the front of the pack.

“We definitely have a strong team, but I don’t think in cycling that really does anything more than maybe put a bullseye on your back,” Geoghegan Hart said. “There are probably 20 or 25 guys you could get a medal for in this race, and that says it all.”

Britain’s strength on paper is qualified, at least in part, by recent injuries. Simon Yates withdrew from the Tour de France after an accident on stage 13 that left him with trauma to the abdominal wall, while Thomas continued on to Paris despite dislocating his shoulder on stage three.

Both men downplayed any lingering shocks before the weekend, but both Thomas and Geoghegan Hart flew to Tokyo on Monday alone after completing a particularly grueling Tour, and things won’t get any easier as they face the heat and humidity of Japan.

Saturday’s route includes 4,865 meters of climbing, highlighted by the 6.8km long Mikuni pass with an average 10 percent incline, within the final 30km.

“I think it will probably be one of the most physically demanding races that we will do this year, if not in our races,” added Geoghegan Hart. “There is the temperature, the humidity, the alignment, and that final climb is difficult.”

Simon Yates has made this race one of his main goals of the season. All was in doubt when he arrived on deck on the road to Carcassonne two weeks ago, but an early departure from the Tour allowed him to travel early to Japan and get a good look at the route with his brother.

“I think as a team we have a very good opportunity,” Yates said. “It’s about putting the pieces together.

“There are other nations that are more experienced than us when it comes to winning a bigger stage in a one-day race, but we’ll see how it goes. We have a strong team and we will try regardless. “

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This notice was published: 2021-07-22 21:45:25

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