Wales

Geraint Thomas: Behind the scenes of Tour de France 2019

Geraint Thomas has hair cut by wife Sara
Image caption Geraint Thomas receives a "lucky" haircut from his wife Sara five days before the start of the 2019 tour

A haircut from his wife and a wishbone to hang from his bike are two must-haves for a superstitious Geraint Thomas in the lead up to a race.

Cameras were given behind-the-scenes access to the Cardiff-born star as he attempted to win his second Tour De France in a row in July.

He describes life during the three-week race as "monotonous", but adds: "You get quite comfortable in it."

He came second in the 2019 tour, losing out to fellow Ineos rider Egan Bernal.

As his wife Sara cuts his hair ahead of the first stage of the race, he explains: "This has turned into a lucky tour haircut, even though two years ago I crashed out and broke my collar bone - but you kind of forget about that."

Laughing, Sara adds: "Apologies to hairdressers across the country. We do realise there's a skill involved which I don't have."

Thomas goes on to explain another superstition: "Sara gave me this wishbone because I'd had quite a bit of bad luck throughout races so I put it on my computer that I have on my bike.

"I want one grand tour where I don't have any misfortune really. Just no bad luck, you know."

Image caption Sara confides she "hates the whole month of July" when her husband competes in the tour

The tour is a nerve-wracking time for Sara. Describing waking up to newspaper headlines about her husband, she said: "It is never nice when you see [headlines] first thing.

"I think I saw 'Disaster for Geraint Thomas'. I thought 'oh my God, here we go again'… I just hate it anyway, I just hate the whole month of July."

Much of Thomas' time away from the bike is spent fuelling up on high-calorie meals, getting sports massages and the occasional visit from Sara.

"You have your routine of waking up, having breakfast, getting on the bus, sort your stuff out, do the race, straight back on the bus, to the hotel, get your massage, dinner, bed, repeat," he tells the camera.

"It's just monotonous really like that. The more you do it the more you crave that routine really. Even though it's boring you get quite comfortable in it."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption On the road - it's July 2019 - and stage seven of the Tour de France for Thomas

He said he invited cameras in to "give a different insight" and "show exactly what it's like" to be a professional cyclist.

"When I was growing up there wasn't too many documentaries on cycling and it would be nice to show what it's actually like," he said.

Geraint Thomas: The Road will Decide will be on BBC1 Wales at 21:00 GMT on Thursday

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