Geraint Thomas is eyeing the Tour de France and Olympic Games in 2021, with a potential score to settle at the Giro d’Italia, as he navigates an off-season he feels he hasn’t really deserved. The Welshman has also revealed he struggled to watch his teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart win the Giro d’Italia after he crashed out in the opening week.
Thomas, who missed out on selection for Ineos Grenadiers’ Tour de France line-up, fractured his pelvis when he hit a bidon in the neutral zone on stage 3, ending his season before it had really got going.
"Obviously I crashed out of the Giro, which was the big goal of the year, and it almost feels like I don’t deserve an off-season, because I never really got fully into the racing," Thomas said on BBC Radio Wales on Thursday.
"Although mentally I definitely need the break now, just to switch off and chill out a bit."
Thomas admitted that the mental stress extended to his teammates carrying on and enjoying huge success without him. Ineos winning seven stages was one thing, but Geoghegan Hart – who came into the race as one of his domestiques – taking the overall title was another.
Although he was happy for the 25-year-old, he recently revealed in a Telegraph column that it was "too raw" for him to bring himself to watch the final stages.
On BBC Radio Wales, Thomas added: "It was great to see. He’s a young rider, full of potential. Obviously he was there to help me try to win initially, and obviously I went home and he had an opportunity and come the last week he was suddenly right up there. To finish it off and deal with that pressure was great for him, great for the team, and great to see.
"Although I did sort of struggle… if I’m being honest I wasn’t tuning in every day to watch it live, but I was keeping track, still messaging the boys. It’s great for them."
Since leaving Italy, Thomas has been at home in Wales with his wife and his one-year-old son, and admitted he found it hard to adapt and recover at first.
"I’m a lot better now I’ve started doing what the physio has been telling me," he said.
"The first week was quite tough – I got home and it was straight into the off-season. Maybe I wasn’t doing the rehab and resting I should have, but I was busy chasing my son around.
"It’s just the mentality. Being the off-season, it’s easy not to do everything 100 per cent knowing you’re going to be off the bike for four weeks anyway, but it’s all good now."
Thomas will soon set his sights on the 2021 season.
Although plans will be defined with the Ineos team management deeper into the winter, the 34-year-old highlighted the Tour de France and Olympic Games - pushed back to next July - as his principal targets. However, he did not rule out a return to the Giro, a race he has now abandoned twice due to freak crashes when in top form.
"I think the Tour and the Olympics," Thomas said of his 2021 goals. "Obviously I've got to down with the team and go through it properly, but the Giro as well is still sort of in the back of my mind, especially after this year."