‘What did I do to deserve this?’ Geraint Thomas opens up on ‘hardest time’ of his career

The Tour de France in numbers

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Geraint Thomas, 36, kicked off his Tour de France campaign on Friday in the Danish capital Copenhagen. The Ineos Grenadiers rider and his fellow cyclists were hit by heavy rain as they set off for the first stage, which is known as the Grand Depart. Thomas did not have an ideal start to the Grand Tour race as he forgot to remove his gilet before the race. The Welshman’s warm garment likely cost him valuable time in a sport where aerodynamic clothing is key to shaving seconds off a rider’s performance.

Thomas, who finished 18th and 25 seconds behind winner Yves Lampaert, admitted his error in keeping on his “blinking gilet”.

Speaking about his performance in the time trial, he also berated his cautious cornering in the wet weather.

In a post-ride interview, he said: “The first few corners I was cornering like my wife – she hasn’t ridden a bike in 12 years – it was unbelievable.

“Then I realised I had my gilet on – I zipped it up, it was nice and snug, and I didn’t realise.”

But despite the wardrobe malfunction, Thomas’ start to the Tour is unlikely to be as bad as his 2021 season.

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The rider dubbed last year the “hardest time” of his career as he faced injury woes and contract issues.

Ahead of the Tour, the British star opened up about the previous 12 months in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

Speaking from his hotel room, he said: “It was definitely the hardest time of my career looking back.

“It was just one thing after the other. Obviously, the summer was hard.”

Thomas referred to a freak accident he had in the Tour de Romandie at the beginning of May last year.

The Welshman was just 50 metres from the finish line in Thyon, Switzerland when he dramatically fell from his bike.

The crash, which came as Thomas was sprinting to the line against Michael Woods, cost him the yellow jersey.

Weeks later, Thomas fell from his bike in the third stage of the Tour de France on the way from Lorient to Pontivy.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider dislocated his shoulder in the incident, and medics had to pop it back in as he lay on the tarmac.

In another accident last summer, Thomas crashed in the men’s road race at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July.

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The Welshman hit the deck halfway through the 50km race, suffering scrapes, and was forced to pull out.

He told the Telegraph: “I committed so much to last year’s Tour, spent so much time away from Sa and Macs [wife Sara and son].

“In an 11-week period I only saw them for four days. So, to crash like that so early in the Tour, due to a silly lapse in concentration, was devastating.

“Then the Olympics… bam. Taken out. I remember lying on the road and just thinking ‘Why me? What did I do in a previous life to deserve this?’”

The rider, who caught COVID-19 at Christmas, also had his pride dented last year, after Ineos were initially slow to agree a new deal with him.

He said: “The whole palaver with the contract was a pain in the arse if I’m honest.

“We didn’t actually sign until December. And even then there were a few things wrong with it.

“I just thought ‘This is so easy. Why are we making this so difficult?’”

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