Olympia 2021: Geraint Thomas expects “war of attrition” in the men’s street race


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Geraint Thomas expects an “abrasion war” in the race for gold in the men’s road race at the Olympic Games on Saturday.

The men’s main field awaits 234 kilometers at almost 90 degrees and almost 5,000 meters in altitude in the race for gold.

Climbing Mt. Fuji is the centerpiece of the event, but the Mikuni Pass, which averages 10.6 percent and has gradients of up to 20 percent, will be a stunner for the last 30 kilometers of the race.

Also read: Olympic Road Race: What You Need To Know

“We did the two toughest climbs and they are certainly tough and as I said, the heat and humidity will definitely contribute to these 230 kilometers,” said Thomas from his hotel room in Tokyo.

“These conditions get really tough and the penultimate climb is a real climb. It’s certainly steep and challenging and you have to have to drive it well, not explode, it will definitely be more of a war of attrition than major attacks from the front. I think there will be more people all day just going backwards. “

Did you know that the men’s street race at # Tokyo2020 covers the longest distance ever?

2️⃣3️⃣4️⃣km, including the lower slopes of Japan’s highest mountain, Mount Fuji 🚵‍♀️ # TeamGB pic.twitter.com/bsEjo5kNWG

– Team GB (@TeamGB) July 20, 2021

While the race could be lost for some on the five climbs that line the course, there’s still a long run from Kagosaka Pass to the finish line at Fuji International Speedway where a lot can happen.

“After the descent, there are still 10 km flat, so it’s not the be-all and end-all at the summit. But as we all know, 20 seconds or so with a small group from the front can easily be left out because the group behind could potentially start looking at each other, ”said Thomas.

“So much can happen and that is what road racing is all about. So good to see and sometimes not so good to be a part of because of the whole tactical side and what can happen. It’s not really a lottery, but you need a bit of luck. “

Also read: The British Olympic team is striving for a trauma from the Tour de France to Tokyo

Thomas is one of the many riders who jetted to Japan after the end of the Tour de France. The Welshman helped teammate Richard Carapaz to third overall but had a disappointing personal race after falling and dislocating his shoulder in the first week.

Thomas is always relatively optimistic no matter what the sport throws at him and he’s relatively confident that his injuries won’t get in his way on Saturday.

“It’s as much as the legs that are just recovering from the tour. But it was tough, especially the first 10 days or so. A week later, someone stabbed me in the back and I ended up on the right side again, which definitely didn’t help the entire recovery process, ”he said. “I feel like I got off pretty well. I’ve been able to ride relatively easy for the past three days, as easy as possible on the tour. And yes, I feel ready to go. I think we’ll find out on Saturday anyway. “

The tour has taken its toll 🤣 pic.twitter.com/7sxrlvdOAl

– Geraint Thomas (@ GeraintThomas86) July 18, 2021

Team tactics and no ego

Thomas isn’t the only one who comes out of the Tour de France with a few punches. Simon Yates had to retire after hitting the deck hard in a large pile-up on Stage 13, avoiding any broken bones.

The early abandonment of the tour meant he could leave for Tokyo earlier than others and get used to the conditions while he recovered.

“I still have a little bruise and a bruise from it and I’ve taken a few quiet days and been on the physio side of things for a while now,” Yates said. “We managed to see the course extensively, I think we know pretty much everything, especially the last part.

“It’s going to be very difficult, especially with the surrounding conditions. It’s very hot, very humid. I think it will be a little cooler on race day, but I still think it will be a tough race all around. It’s going to be about managing and putting all of these things together and trying to pull it off towards the end of the race. “

Great Britain competes with a team of four on Saturday, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Adam Yates complete the squad. Together they have three Grand Tour wins and loads of one-day pedigree. On their day, all four have the opportunity to take home a medal, so it is not yet clear who will ultimately be promoted to team leader.

“We haven’t really talked about how we’re going to do it yet,” said Thomas. “But yeah, I think it depends on the day too, so much can change with the heat and humidity, in terms of hydration and just how people feel.

“I think once we’re out there the main thing is that there are no more egos and we just communicate well and we have our plan and we try to implement it as best we can. A lot can happen with such small teams and so little control. “

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