Geraint Thomas will get a final tune-up for the Giro d’Italia when he races in the men’s time trial at the UCI Road World Championships on Friday.
Thomas said he was keen to ride for Great Britain this weekend before the Giro came on to his agenda.
But with the Italian Grand Tour including three time trials – starting with the opening stage to Palermo a week on Saturday – the reorganised world championships in Imola are the ideal preparation.
Race Route | Men Elite ITT 🌈
— UCI (@UCI_cycling) September 23, 2020
“Obviously it plays a big part,” Thomas said. “But at the same time, I would have wanted to do them anyway just because I rarely get a chance to race – I’ve never done the World time trial for a start.
“I’m always on my knees by the end of the season after a typical year. But obviously this is anything but.
“I’m feeling pretty good and I would have wanted to do the TT anyway but obviously having three TTs at the Giro gives an extra importance to it.”
It is now a little over a month since the surprise announcement came that Thomas had missed out on selection for the Tour de France as the Ineos Grenadiers lined up behind defending champion Egan Bernal.
The Welshman had made clear his disappointment, but said his frustration was as much with himself and his lack of form.
“To be honest I was over it pretty quickly,” he said. “The initial disappointment was more that it was just the first real time I’d not hit my target for the year.
“I knew I wasn’t in the shape to challenge for the win, that was the disappointing thing.”
The announcement came after the 2018 Tour winner had looked off the pace at the Criterium du Dauphine the week before.
The 34-year-old admitted he went into that race carrying too much weight, but his second place overall behind Simon Yates in Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this month suggests he is moving in the right direction.
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) September 14, 2020
Thomas said he hopes to be “there or thereabouts” in Friday’s time trial but feels he needed the 31.7km circuit – which starts and finishes at the home of the San Marino Grand Prix – to have included more climbing to really suit him.
Instead, he pointed to his Ineos team-mates Filippo Ganna and Rohan Dennis – the latter the defending champion – as favourites alongside Jumbo-Visma’s Tom Dumoulin and Wout van Aert who both arrive in Imola from the Tour de France.
“Both of them have had a big Tour, but they haven’t been racing to the finish line every day and I think they’ll probably come out of it OK.
“It’s quite soon after the Tour but we’ll see how they go.”
The Giro d'Italia “re-starts” from Sicily: for the ninth time the Grande Partenza of the Giro will be in Sicily. Four stages will be held in the Region from 3 to 6 October, starting with an individual time trial from Monreale to Palermo. >>> https://t.co/a78p81VxEu pic.twitter.com/RYhvscBF6L
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) July 24, 2020
For Thomas, the main focus remains the Giro, where he hopes to follow Ineos team-mate Chris Froome and become only the second Briton to win the pink jersey.
Racing in Italy means he will miss milestone birthdays for both his son Macs and his wife Sara, something Thomas said only adds to his motivation.
“(Macs) is one the Friday before the Giro starts, then my wife is 30 the final Friday of the Giro,” he said. “I miss two quite big milestones there, hopefully I can make that worthwhile.
“I’ve just committed everything to try to get there in the best shape possible, I’m not missing both things for no reason.”