Geraint Thomas seeks classics success after Volta ao Algarve win

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport
Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas won team pursuit gold for Great Britain at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics

Geraint Thomas hopes retaining the Volta ao Algarve against a stellar field can inspire success in some of cycling's most prestigious races.

Thomas, 29, was crowned champion after finishing fifth in the final stage.

The Team Sky rider can now look ahead to the season's classics, having beaten former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador and three-time World Time Trial winner Tony Martin.

"It's definitely a great confidence boost," he told BBC Wales Sport.

"Coming here as the sole leader of the team as opposed to last year, when I was part of a two-pronged attack with Richie Porte.

"I took on that extra responsibility and it was a super-strong field as well with Contador and [Fabio] Aru, who both won grand tours last year.

"So to come away with a win and take some big scalps along the way is really special."

The prestigious week-long Paris-Nice and one-day Milan-San Remo races await in March, while April's schedule includes classics such as the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

"I've got two weeks training now and a big block of racing, some really big races," Thomas added.

"I'm sure a lot of those big names are going to step up again, so it's going to be tough, but hopefully I can take something out of the next few months."

Geraint Thomas (left) with Chris Froome
Geraint Thomas (left) played an important supporting role in Chris Froome's (right) 2015 Tour de France title

Great expectations

Thomas could be among the favourites for some of the classic one-day races, having impressed in several last year.

The two-time Olympic team pursuit gold medallist also caught the eye with a strong display at the 2015 Tour de France.

Thomas' rise has seen him tipped as a future grand tour leader by Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford, and he is relishing the added expectation.

"I guess with the profile in the peloton and with wins like this, you're watched a bit more," said Thomas.

"But I really enjoy it and enjoy that responsibility. It's a different mindset.

"Over the last two to three years, I've slowly taken more and more responsibility in races and fortunately the success has followed that."

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