Geraint Thomas will lead Sky into the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. The team met the press today, two days out, where it was clear Thomas is the main attraction.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Ian Stannard, Mat Hayman and Bernhard Eisel will make Thomas’ life easier.
“The team’s been strong, we’ve had the numbers,” Thomas said of the classics so far.
“If we have guys left it’s easier, we’ve got to play that to our advantage. If I know Eddy’s coming up, I’m not going to ride if I’m up the road.
“We got to race hard and take Flanders on, that’s the best way to approach it.”
Thomas met with Cycling Weekly and a couple other journalists this evening at the team’s base in Kortrijk. Servais Knaven, the 2001 Paris-Roubaix winner and team DS, was there to support the team’s star.
The lights were dim, but bright enough to see Knaven nod and confirm Thomas as leader. For the first time in this year’s classics, Sky has one man to lead it to victory.
“So now it’s with one guy, with one leader. … I’m sure G can follow Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara,” Knaven said.
“Still we have other guys who are really almost at the same level. With the numbers we have, it’s good to play on those numbers, like with Mathew Hayman and Edvald and Ian Stannard. And normally Bernie, but we’ll see.”
Eisel has recovered after feeling ill. He trained with the team today, but Knaven said that it would be up to the others to be present in the last kilometres.
Pressure on Thomas
Thomas is ready to take the team leadership for Flanders, 260 kilometres from Bruges to Oudenaarde. His best place was 10th in 2011, but then he was focusing on the track.
“Pressure, yes, I guess so, but no more than sitting in the chairs, two minutes before an Olympic final in London. That’s pretty intense,” Thomas said of team leadership.
“I feel the best I’ve been feeling, maybe because I’m 100 per cent concentrated on the road. I definitely feel like the training has set us up for the last hour of racing. I definitely thing being specifically and concentrating on certain areas have really helped.”
Thomas, when asked bluntly if he can win, showed that he is confident.
His response, “I don’t see why not.”
Tour of Flanders 2013: The Big Preview