Geraint Thomas: “This is what it’s all about…”
He was there in Beijing when the British team pursuit squad took the world record below 3:54, and Geraint Thomas did the same again in Melbourne today. In the year that the Olympics return to London, the Welshman is excited about what’s being done in his pet discipline: fast times, a solid rivalry… and exciting racing. Here’s a quick Q&A with one of the new world champions…
“I didn’t expect it to be such a fast battle,” said Geraint Thomas after he and his three team-mates – Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh – clocked 3:53.295, beating Australia’s Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Glenn O’Shea and Michael Hepburn (3:53.404) in the final of the world championships. “To be honest but we did know we were going to improve here from what we did in London [at the World Cup] – the Australians embarrassed us a bit there and we were a bit gutted really. We wanted to come here and get a lot closer.
“We thought there’d be a couple of 10ths (of a second) in it, and it was really.
“When we were racing, you’d hear a roar from the crowd one lap and then nothing the next – it’d go dead. It was like, ‘Oh, we’re up now…’ and then there’d be another roar and it was like, ‘Oh shit, we’re down!’
“But we were working to a plan and we knew what it was. We just had to ride as fast as we could. And what they do is what they do and fortunately it worked in our favour.
“I did lap-and-a-half turns… and, at the end, it felt like I was dying a bit so I did just one lap and Pete came through and he was absolutely cooked. Even though I was dying, I should have just done that extra bit because I wasn’t as dead as them. But it’s good; you learn from those things. And I think we lost about half a second on the last lap. We fortunately hung on… but we learned a lot today.
“It was similar to Manchester really, back in 2008 – we just dipped under the world record there and that was a real fight against the Danes and this was a carbon copy of that really.”
It was a contrast to the final in Beijing when you were all so smooth and you were, effectively, just racing for a time then. This was a real dog right…
“Yeah, definitely. And it’s going to be the same again in London. But I’m confident that we’re going to go two seconds quicker again. We’ve got so much more training and track time to do – that’s where really made our gains four years ago and the same thing is going to happen again.
“It’s the same for the Aussies – they’re all young like us and are only going to improve. Especially when you’re 20, you find half-a-second every six months. It’s going to be a real fight and I’m very much looking forward to it.
“I’m sure they’re gutted but they’re Australians. They’re fighters. They’ll be like us when we lost the World Cup in London – they’ll go away now and lift their heads up. They train as hard as anyone else but we’re going to be racing against Jack and co in the Giro so there’s going to be a bit of a mind game going on. It’s going to be a great year.
“This is what it’s all about: great racing and good fun.”