No way I was going to quit last year’s Tour – Thomas

Geraint Thomas.
Geraint Thomas.
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Seven years ago Geraint Thomas was the youngest man in the peloton as the Tour de France began in London.

Fast forward to 2014 and he is now the young pup of Team Sky, the most powerful squad in the race as they seek to win the yellow jersey for a third successive year.

Do not let age fool you, though, for there are few cyclists as dedicated as Thomas.

When Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford talks about cyclists suffering in a Tour de France, he has one man more than most in mind.

On last year’s first stage, Thomas broke his collar bone. Lesser men would have quit the race. But Thomas, now 28, fought on.

“It hurt a lot, the first few days in Corsica were by far the worst, especially the days after as I didn’t know what was wrong,” he said.

“Once it was established what was wrong and that it wasn’t going to get any worse, it was just the pain I had to put up with.

“You spend the whole year thinking about this race. It means so much to every bike rider and I didn’t want to throw that away.

“I can kind of look back and maybe from the outside it did seem kind of stupid but I got a lot of support from the boys on the road.

“Everyone had that arm around my shoulder and it showed our team spirit and how deep it goes.”

Thomas and Froome are two of four Britons in the 198-rider peloton, alongside Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Simon Yates (Orica GreenEdge).

Sir Bradley Wiggins, the first British winner in 2012, was not selected by Team Sky, while David Millar, Alex Dowsett and Pete Kennaugh are other notable absentees.

“It is disappointing there’s not more, but all I was worried about was myself,” added Thomas.

“It would be great to have more British guys around, but I think it would be wrong if more guys were selected just because of their passport as well.”

As well as role of domestique, Thomas has two gold medals to his name on the track when partnering Yorkshire’s Ed Clancy in the team pursuit.

Having sampled both the Olympics and a former Grand Depart in the United Kingdom, Thomas is excited about the reception he and his team will receive in Yorkshire this weekend.

“The atmosphere’s going to be unbelievable,” he said. “It’s great to show how far British cycling has come. You look back at the Athens Olympics (in 2004), it was nowhere anywhere near this.

“I was 18 then and never would’ve dreamt I’d be here starting my fifth Tour de France, second time in the UK, in a British team looking to win the Tour for a third successive year.”