Geraint Thomas on Tadej Pogacar: "He’ll have a massive legacy as one of the greatest bike riders ever"

Geraint Thomas for the first time in his career will be racing both Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in an attempt to finish both, and perform specially in the Corsa Rosa. However he will have to battle Tadej Pogacar there, whom he has nothing but complements to give.

"Well then, the Giro-Tour double it is for me in 2024. It's going to be a massive challenge because I've never done it in full before," Thomas wrote for the INEOS Grenadiers site. "I did attempt it in 2017 but crashed out of both, so, hopefully, it will be a bit better than that! It's my 18th year as a pro, so I need to mix it up a bit and it’s certainly something which will get me out of bed in the morning."

The 37-year old was close to retirement a few years ago after some rough seasons but found one more breath of fresh air in his career. Even against a new generation that climbs at a superior pace than those of the 2010's - where Thomas managed to win the Tour de France - the Welshman finished on the podium of the Tour in 2022, and last year came very close to winning the Giro d'Italia, only losing it to Primoz Roglic in the final time-trial.

"I suppose the obvious question is ‘how do you manage both’? It's certainly different but I think that the block between the Giro and the Tour is the main thing," he explains. "I've said so much about weight, that's the key bit really, so just staying on the ball there is going to be really important. We'll have to go to altitude again too, we'll go somewhere closer to home so the family can still come out and it will be a bit more relaxed."

At the Tour, Thomas is expected to have more of a support role for the likes of Carlos Rodríguez and Tom Pidcock. However if he manages the two races to perfection, he could be a GC candidate of his own. At the Giro he leads INEOS Grenadiers, but is aware that fighting for victory is a big reach.

"The lineups for the Giro are yet to be confirmed but it’s going to be a big challenge coming up against Tadej [Pogacar]. I’d prefer if he wasn’t going but at the same time having him there is great," he admits. "It’ll change the race completely and his team will take on the weight of the race and everything that comes with that. In years to come he’ll have a massive legacy as one of the greatest bike riders ever."

Hence Thomas begins his season with a similar build-up to that of 2023, which worked out perfectly into his main goals. But in what is his penutltimate season in the peloton, he looks forward to what is a new challenge. "It’s a massive challenge to be at my best for that length of time, and I’ve never done it."

"For me, it will take a lot of mental effort, as well as physical. It’s something that excites me really, it makes me scared too but that’s a good thing. I’ve been around the block so it’s good to mix things up a bit and this will keep me dialed, focused and on it."

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