by Daniel Hunter
Along with Ed Clancy and Steven Burke, Welshman Geraint Thomas, MBE, is a surviving member of the 2008 endurance squad, having won team pursuit gold in Beijing.
‘G’ won three world titles in the build-up to Bejiing 2008, but following an appearance at the Manchester World Cup in 2009, he focused his attentions more on the road.
Previously, he had successfully completed his first Tour de France in 2007 and after signing for Team Sky, he made a significant impression on the 2010 Tour.
Thomas racked up several top-ten stage finishes and wore the prestigious young rider’s jersey from stages three to seven.
At the 2011 Tour de France, Thomas finished sixth in the first stage to earn the white jersey, which he held until stage seven. He also won the combativity award on stage 12 for a memorable breakaway as the race entered the Pyrenees, ending up 31st overall.
He also helped Mark Cavendish win the world road race title in 2011 before revealing he would be focusing on the track in 2012.
At the World Championships, he was part of the British team pursuit quartet that won gold – their first since 2008 – and set a new world record in the process.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, Thomas won gold in cycling track, team pursuit with partners Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh.
Whether you’re a speed demon or have just dusted down your training wheels, these ten top tips from Geraint will help you get the most out of cycling.
1. Be prepared ahead of your ride: check the weather forecast (in particular, wind can play a big part in racing) and make sure you're all set for the distance and terrain. I always study the route I’m cycling in advance – knowing what to expect, whether it’s steep climbs, sprints or technical sections, helps you handle them better.
2. Make sure you regularly give your bike the once over. I'm lucky to have mechanics who look at this now, but I'm still in the habit of checking my brakes and tyres before any ride!
3. Eat a nourishing breakfast before you ride! I like a big bowl of porridge, a banana and some yoghurt – my favourite brand is The Collective.
4. Cycling gear is all about layers. Avoid heavy materials which aren't breathable, and are heavy to carry if you need to take them off. Any layers that I take off when I'm out riding will fit in the back pocket of my jersey.
5. Follow your superstitions – it'll calm your nerves, even if they're silly! For example I always like to pin my number onto my jersey while on the way to the start on the morning of the race.
6. Stay fuelled throughout a ride. Take on food and liquid little and often, even if you're not feeling hungry or thirsty.
7. Know your limits on the bike – especially when you’re sharing the road with cars. Most importantly, remember to stay safe!
8. Take time to recover – you'll really notice the difference over the following days! Warming down after exercise is as important as warming up before exercise. Remember to look after your body from start to finish to avoid injury.
9. Remember to reward yourself sometimes! My treat is a pizza with a glass of wine, finished off with gelato or some of The Collective’s Russian Fudge yoghurt.
10. Cycling isn't just about racing. It provides you with a feeling of freedom that no other sport does. It’s also great for keeping fit in general; why not swap the car or train for a bike once a week? You'll feel the difference in yourself, and in your wallet!