So that’s another year down, they are certainly flying by now!! Next year will be my 11th year as a professional cyclist which is a crazy thought!
This year went well all in all. I had the biggest win of my career with Paris Nice and defended my Algarve title which I won in 2015. It wasn’t all plain sailing though. After Paris Nice I got a little sick but still rode Milan - San Remo, where I crashed. It was a tough couple of weeks but I managed to get right again for my favourite one day race of the year, the Tour of Flanders. I didn’t get the result was hoping for, I was in good shape but just lacked the final punch at the end to go with the likes of Sagan and Van Avermart in the mix. I guess it was always going to happen, Flanders was the only cobbled classic that I did; this year for me was about concentrating on stage races rather than the one day races. After my long weekend in Belgium it was back to thinking about stage racing and climbing up 15km bergs as fast as I could! I learnt a lot in this area which I hope to use in the future. Before the Tour de Suisse I was training really hard, traveling around a lot and also trying to lose weight. This had a knock-on effect in the TDS and I didn't perform as well as I could have. This definitely effected my confidence going into the tour…
I have mixed feels about the Tour de France this year. In the end I finished 15th, the same position i was in 2015 but it was a completely different race for me this time around. I was fourth with two days to go in '15 and had a lot of confidence in myself, this year it was more a case of doing my job as I crashed on the first stage and cracked my rib, which obviously meant I wasn't at my best for the rest of the race. Plenty of learning to take away from this.
After the TDF it was back to London for the one day race, Ride London. It was great to race on home roads again, which I don’t get to do very often these days. It was a great race to do before jetting off to Rio for the Olympics and to be in front of a British crowd.
The Olympics are always special but this year was completely different from what I’m used to. The previous two I have been competing in the team pursuit on the track. In a way it’s a lot more relaxing as going into the games as a team pursuit rider you can kind of predict how you get on. Everything is under your control and all you have to do is get out there give it everything and deliver your ride. With the road race its completely different, there are lots of other variables which come into play. From technical issues, to punctures, crashes, the weather, tactics etc. For me it couldn’t have been going any better, I was just off the front of the lead group coming down the final climb with roughly 10km to go and I crashed on the final corner and that was it, my race was over. It was a combination of the road surface and my eagerness to get down the climb as quickly as possible. As a result of that crash I finished 11th. I was devastated afterwards. I was in with a great chance to win the race and if I hadn’t crashed and ended up 7th it would be easier to take but the not knowing what could have happened grated on me for a while!
I then took a nice mini break with Sara, my wife before training for the Qatar World champs, my final racing block of the season. The worlds didn’t start too well. We had the TTT a week before, where we had a good motivated team but Danny fell sick a few days out and we started the race with basically 5 guys. Danny started but was completely empty, he managed to do a couple of turns and was out of there soon after. It was disappointing as we could have medalled for sure with 6 healthy guys. The road race was a week later. Racing in Qatar you don't get any second chances, when the race splits you are either in the race or not. The course and wind direction meant that after 70km of racing we turned 90 degrees right. This was the point the race was going to blow apart and everybody knew it. I punctured after a couple of km, along with Luke Rowe, out of the first group, and that was it. We ended up watching the final 30km on the tv in the hotel room! Unfortunately Cav couldn’t quite win but a silver medal ended a great season for him this year. I was gutted I couldn’t help Cav more but that's the way it goes in sport I guess, sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way you plan it.
As soon as Qatar was done and dusted it was time to enjoy the off season. Four weddings and 2 holidays later I’m back in Monaco training in earnest for 2017. Hopefully it can be my best yet!!
Geraint Thomas - Protect Your Bubble Brand Ambassador