Rio 2016: Geraint Thomas 'not too nice' to lead GB Olympic road race team

Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas (R) helped Great Britain win Olympic gold in the team pursuit in 2008 and 2012
Olympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
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Commonwealth Games champion Geraint Thomas says he is ready to lead Team GB in the Rio Olympics men's road race on Saturday, 6 August if called upon.

He is expected to support Chris Froome as he did at the Tour de France, but Thomas says any of Britain's five-man squad could end up leading the team.

And the 30-year-old, bidding to win his third successive Olympic gold, insists he is not too nice to be the main man.

"I'd cut anyone up in a sprint," said the Cardiff-born Team Sky rider.

"If you're in Rio and the barriers are here and somebody's coming up I'd be the first person to slightly squeeze him."

Thomas, who would become Wales' most successful Olympian for 96 years if he wins a third gold in Rio, helped team-mate Froome win the Tour de France for the third time in July.

The pair will be joined in Britain's men's road race team by Steve Cummings, Adam Yates and Ian Stannard.

Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas secured his second medal of the 2014 Commonwealth Games with a stunning gold in a gruelling men's road race on the final day in Glasgow

Froome has had another stellar year, but Thomas has plenty of road race nous having won Commonwealth gold in Glasgow in 2014.

This year he was also crowned Paris-Nice champion and the Tour of Algarve winner.

Thomas is known for his relaxed and easy-going character, but he insists he has the ruthless streak needed to thrive in Rio.

"When it comes to racing on the bike I'm not as chilled and as laid back as I am off it," he said.

"Chris Hoy [Britain's most successful Olympian] is a nice guy, he was pretty successful.

"Off the bike and on the bike you can be two completely different people."

Thomas, narrowly beaten in the RideLondon-Surrey Classic in July, says Team GB's strength in depth will give them the flexibility to change their leader during the race if necessary.

"You've just got to try and control what you can and go in and give it everything," he said.

"We've got a great team as well so, if one of us isn't great, hopefully somebody else will be able to step up and we will all get behind them.

"You've got to have a few scenarios planned and, when it comes to being on the road, it can still change."

Thomas feels Britain's team spirit should give them an advantage over their rivals, particularly if they have to discuss and alter tactics during the race.

"I think that's where Britain will have a strong advantage over the other teams really because you look at Spain a lot of them are leaders and a lot of them don't really like each other," he said.

"Whereas we genuinely do get on and can be honest with each other and talk on the road and hopefully that will be a big advantage."

Watch "Wales: Olympic Dreams" - Friday, 5 August at 19:30 BST on BBC One Wales.

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