24.06.2007/ Cyclingheroes will introduce several rookiesof the 2007 Tour de France. Today the
first Rookie. An interview with Geraint Thomas that was made by the Team Barloworld website. The Welsh "rookie" feels
before the 2007 Tour de France departure in London (on July 7th) unbelievable pressure: "The first week suits me, but
first of all I've to gain experience"...
|Geraint Thomas will race his first Tour de France (picture: Barloworld)
- Geraint Thomas, you must be elated that Team Barloworld have received a wild card entry to the
Tour and you've been listed as one of the nine riders...
"Yes it's great. It's quite surreal at the moment and
I don't think I can imagine how big it will be especially starting in the UK with the thousands of home fans present".
When you were a junior rider did you ever dream that you'd get to ride the biggest race in the world?
"Yes. Ever since
I started cycling at the age of 11 I have watched the tour on tele and dreamed of riding it. Its hard to believe that I have
this opportunity to fulfil my dream so early in my career. I turned pro this year and was only 21 at the end of May "
What are your plans leading up to the race?
"I have had a good programme of races with Team Barloworld leading up
to the Tour. I had 3 one days races at the beginning of June and then had a good gap to train on my TT bike in preparation
for the prologue. I then had a stage race in Holland which finished 2 weeks before the tour. Then I was feet up and sat on
the form: now I'm fresh and ready to go !"
- What are your goals/desired outcomes for the race? How will you approach
"I will be hoping to make an impact in the first week of the tour, as the terrain suits me a lot better. We have
a good leader in Robert Hunter who I will be helping out in the finishes. I'd prefer to race the first week hard and to risk
not finishing, rather than to do the bare minimum and pack the tour a few days later. After the first week I will switch to
survival mode and take it day by day".
- At 21, you'll be one of the youngest riders in the race. How will you
cope with the pressure ?
"I can't even imagine how big the Tour starting in London is going to be, but I don't feel
too much pressure at the moment. I am going there to gain vital experience for the future, and will be making the most of
this opportunity ".
- You were with T-Mobile last year; this year of course you're riding for Barloworld. Are they
supporting you well?
"Yes definitely. It is professionally run with a good team of staff. The riders are looked after
really well. I'm really happy in the team".
- Being a young rider, new to the sport, what is your view on the ongoing
"Well they are obviously surprising and shocking revelations but I think in the long run it will
be better for the sport. I think peoples attitudes are changing and to move forward sometimes you have to take a step back".
- Where do you see yourself in five years time ?
"I would like to be riding the Tour and aiming to take
the yellow jersey in the prologue".
- You must be proud to be the first Welshman in 40 years to ride the Tour
"Of course, it's a great honour to represent Wales in one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Along with Nicole
Cooke I think Welsh cycling is back on the cycling map and it looks good for the future".
- Finally, who is your
money on to win the Tour?
"Alexandre Vinokourov. He won the Vuelta last year and really wants the Tour. He also has
a really strong team to back him up, so I think he's the man to beat".