National Road Championships: Geraint Thomas can win - Rowe

Wiggins and Thomas stood together outside
Wiggins and Thomas both compete for Team Sky

Geraint Thomas can beat 2012 Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins at the National Road Championships, says Wales team-mate Luke Rowe.

The Welsh double Olympic gold medallist takes on a star-studded field in the elite men's time-trial in Monmouthshire on Thursday evening.

"I'm pretty sure Geraint can win it," said Rowe.

Mark Cavendish has withdrawn from Sunday's road race because he is suffering from bronchitis.

Thomas, a two-time Tour of Bavaria champion, has the credentials to win the event, according to Rowe.

"It's a three-horse race between Geraint, Bradley Wiggins and Alex Dowsett," he added.

"I can only see those three getting on the podium," said Rowe, who is looking to improve on last year's fifth place finish.

Wiggins is Olympic time-trial champion, while Dowsett is aiming for a record fourth consecutive national title.

But Thomas, who won the road race at the National Championships four years ago, is coy about his chances of winning the red, white and blue jersey again.

"It's all to play for," said Thomas.

"Bradley has been targeting this since the start of the year - he's a handy bike rider, isn't he?

"Alex Dowsett does the time-trial every week so it will be tough, but I've obviously got some good form... hopefully I can use that.

"Knowing the course that bit more than everybody else will definitely be an advantage.

"It would be nice to win that jersey again - it was awesome when I had it in 2010."

Meanwhile, the 28-year-old's Commonwealth Games team-mate Owain Doull is among the favourites for the under-23 men's event.

Doull will aim to emulate the success of compatriot Sam Harrison, who won last year.

In the women's time-trial, Elinor Barker and Hayley Jones race the likes of Danielle King, double Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott and defending champion Joanna Rowsell.

Wiggins and Thomas on the podium
Wiggins and Thomas took the gold and silver medals in the 2011 Road Race.

Jones, 18, is suffering from jet-lag after returning from a training camp in Australia on Tuesday.

But the Neath-born racer hopes to gain some valuable experience ahead of next month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"I'm just hoping to go out and do my best," said Jones.

"We're in the middle of a hard training block and I want to peak at the Commonwealths.

"It's mainly about experience."

But Darren Tudor, Head Coach at Welsh Cycling, wants his team to show they are ready for the Games.

"We definitely need to see them at the front end of the racing," he said.

"It's a challenging course - it's hard and there are a few steep climbs.

"The time-trial course at Glasgow has its challenges seeing everyone in the ball-park will be really pleasing."

Welsh cyclists are in action again on Sunday for the road race in Abergavenny, where Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead will defend her title.

Men's defending champion Mark Cavendish will miss the event as he recovers from illness ahead of the Tour de France.

Abergavenny last hosted the championships in 2009, when Kristian House won the elite men's road race.

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