Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas just missed out on a top ten finish at the Tour of Flanders last weekend but he says it is a race that he will look to target in coming years.
Peter Sagan won the 100th edition of De Ronde after he attacked on the Paterberg leaving behind Fabian Cancellara and Sep Vanmarcke; he then soloed to the line to claim his first monument win in spectacular fashion. But the Welshman, who is targeting the Tour de France this summer, recorded a 12th place finish, which was still a fantastic achievement, especially considering he suffered with illness the week before the race.
Sky has never won a monument, but recent results suggest they’re getting close; Luke Rowe finished fifth at Flanders and put in a good showing at E3 Harelbeke. And with Paris-Roubaix approaching this weekend, Sky will hope Rowe can at least claim a podium position.
Thomas says Flanders is ‘still high on my list of races I want to do well in’
The pace was relentless from the start; and as always with Flanders some big names crashed out in the early; Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Demare and Greg Van Avermaet were two of the biggest casualties and the latter will now miss the rest of the Classics because of a broken collarbone.
Sky and Thomas have decided that this year his focus is better maintained on the Tour, after his impressive showing last year; but speaking to Cycling Weekly, he said: "I think I can be happy given that it's just my first race on the cobbles this year.”
The 29-year-old has done well in the early part of the season, he won the famous Paris-Nice race ahead of rival Alberto Contador, and he also won Volta ao Algarve so his preparations are going well.
But the difference from stage racing to one-day racing is quite noticeable, “One week racing 15km climbs with (Alberto) Contador and then trying to do it on a kilometre-and-a-half climb with Fabian is a bit different,” said Thomas.
Thomas pleased with first cobble race performance of 2016
Sagan blew the peloton to bits on the Paterberg, and although Thomas was in the third chase group, he couldn’t bridge the gap to Cancellara and Vanmarcke, and had to settle for a 12th place finish.
But he was pleased with his first and only cobbled outing this year: "I felt strong, I can be happy with how the legs were." The Welshman conceded he didn't have that 'real top end, that punch,' in his locker.