Thomas sets Cancellara benchmark

Thomas sets Cancellara benchmark

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Thomas sets Cancellara benchmark

29th June 2011
Report: Press Association Sport

Photo: Thomas' impressive development continued with a victory at last year's National Championships

Geraint Thomas would love to be a British Fabian Cancellara.

Cancellara is one of the world's best cyclists - a winner of the sport's major one-day races, plus a multiple world and Olympic time-trial champion.

For some it would be a dream, but for Thomas it could soon be reality.

The 25-year-old from Cardiff is already an Olympic champion on the track, a winner of the junior Paris-Roubaix and he last year accumulated numerous admirers for his performance in the Tour de France.

After making his Tour debut in 2007 at the age of 21 and finishing second to last, Thomas was second on stage three and wore the best young rider's white jersey for much of the first week in 2010. Speaking ahead of his third Tour, which begins on Saturday, Thomas said: "It would be nice to be able to (be the British Cancellara).

"The classics, the one-day races, is something I love doing, I've grown up watching and are definitely more of a short-term goal."

In the longer term and depending on how his climbing improves, Thomas could succeed Bradley Wiggins as Team Sky's general classification contender on the Tour.

Already Thomas is a senior figure in the Team Sky set-up, due to his relationships with Wiggins and team principal Dave Brailsford and coach Shane Sutton, the two most influential figures in the British Cycling system.

Thomas added: "I'm seen more as one of the main guys in the team. I do feel more responsibility. It's something I've thrived on a bit."

Thomas and Wiggins are also good friends and their relationship off the bike helps out on the road.

He added: "I've spent a lot more time with Brad this year and it helps a lot when you get to the races.

"Knowing each other a lot better helps deal with situations better."

While Wiggins has multiple aims in Olympic year, Thomas hinted he is ready to put his road ambitions to one side and miss the 2012 Tour to concentrate on the London Games.

And the Welshman is poised to focus his attentions on the track.

He said: "All I've really thought about is the team pursuit. All I want to do is win a gold medal in London.

"London could be the last race on the track for me and I've got about 10 years left on the road.

"I'm in a different situation to Brad. He's 31 now.

"I don't want to jeopardise the track."