“Then I’m going to have two days off and then we’ll do the Dauphiné, which is the last traditional race before the Tour anyway. It’s shortened, it’s normally eight days but now it’s five. I will do a few recons after that, and then there will be only a week and then we will go to the Tour. ”
Thomas, who won the Tour in 2018 and finished second behind teammate Egan Bernal last year, said he missed the race this year while keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in perspective. The Welshman has not raced since the Volta ao Algarve in February, where he finished 21st overall.
“Missing the race part was disappointing but there was a lot more going on, so you can understand why,” he said. “Everyone’s lifestyle has changed dramatically, but luckily for us, I finally returned to Cardiff for 50 days.
“I was still able to go out on the road and train, and spend some time with the family, which I would never normally do. And especially having a young boy at home, Macsen, was a good thing. ”
“I’m training a bit now, maybe I have three, four, five years left, so I just want to take advantage of those years and run my bike and enjoy it,” added the 34-year-old. “It was difficult, but there are many people who are in more disadvantaged positions than us. ”
Instead of a real race, Thomas spent a lot of time on the Zwift virtual platform during the lockout, taking part in the April Team Ineos eRace on Zwift Alpe, the Team Ineos eRace Classic in June and stage 2 of the Virtual Tour of France earlier this month. . In April, he did three consecutive 12-hour shifts in his garage to raise £ 375,528 for NHS charities.
Thomas said racing on Zwift was a fun experience and also helped with training as he competed with his pro colleagues.
“It’s not the real thing, but it’s very realistic,” he said. “The Zwift races have certainly helped me get the most out of myself, because you are racing against your teammates online. Even if you’re not ready to start, as soon as you start, this competitiveness still comes out and you all end up running hard, so it’s really good training.
“I’ll probably be a little like” ah whatever, we’ll see how it goes “, but as soon as you go, you make stupid attacks. But we’re just going to have a little fun with that, it’s definitely a good alternative to getting around alone. ”
Ineos general manager Dave Brailsford added that online racing has boosted team camaraderie and morale during the lockout.
“It’s good to see them working hard,” he said. “To see them running again is fantastic. It’s great for team morale and a good thing for everyone to do.
“The camaraderie, mutual support and the human factor are very important right now. Whatever you can do to connect people together – including fans – is worth it. ”
The reruns of Team Ineos eRace (Friday July 17, 9 p.m. BST) and of Team Ineos eRace Classic (Friday July 24, 9 p.m. BST) will be broadcast on S4C and on request at S4C Clic. The broadcaster will also broadcast live and highlights of the Tour de France 2020, which will take place from August 29 to September 20.