MONTPELLIER, France (VN) — On Wednesday morning in Cagnes-sur-Mer, Geraint Thomas gingerly pedaled upon a trainer, only days removed from breaking his pelvis but pressing on.
Every pedalstroke came in pained loops, though the scrappy Welshman’s face didn’t show much.
On Friday morning in the teeming Montpellier town square, Thomas sidled up to the start toward the back of the pack, slightly better now, and hoping to recover — in the middle of the Tour de France — to help guide Sky captain Chris Froome in the Tour’s final week, through the Alps.
“It’s definitely better than a week ago. Obviously, there’s still a bit of pain and things,” Thomas told VeloNews. “I feel like I can get out of the saddle a little bit.”
Thomas went down hard in a massive pileup 5 kilometers from the stage 1 finish, which also took down Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing). He then survived, and even contributed to, Sky’s team time trial ride, which saw the team take third and put precious seconds on other GC riders. Sky will be tasked to manage the race weekend as the Tour tilts skyward in the Pyrenees.
Thomas rode the 2007 Tour de France for Barloworld, and was the race’s youngest rider, at the age of 21. Since then, he’s ridden two more Tours de France, and worn the white jersey. He’s also a world champion and gold medalist on the track.
Thomas, now 27, said he only hoped to survive the first mountain stages, recover next week and pull in the Alps.
“I don’t want to push it too much just yet. I think just get through these next few days now, and then it gets easier next week. And hopefully, come the final week, be able to really do a good job for the boys,” he said.
Sky caught a break with Orica-GreenEdge controlling the race as it held yellow toward the mountains, but it will have to exert authority on Saturday’s uphill finish at Ax-3-Domains, and again on Sunday, with five rated climbs: four Cat. 1 ascents and one Cat. 2. All told, Thomas said Sky was relaxed.
“It feels relaxed,” he said. “I think all things considering, Froomey’s in the best position, really, and there’s a lot to play for now.”
And with that, he clipped in and rode away, as stage 7 rolled toward Albi.