Thomas hopes for safe Flanders race

Geraint Thomas hopes he can avoid trouble when he leads Team Sky in his favourite race of the season on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Welshman, crashed towards the end of the

Gent-Wevelgem race

last weekend, but has recovered to ride the one-day Tour of Flanders.

“I think some guys just get carried away and take unnecessary risks,” said Thomas, ahead of his fourth attempt at the cobbled classic.

“As you saw in Gent-Wevelgem there were a lot of crashes.”

He added: “Two of our guys that should be riding on Sunday were caught up in them. It’s never nice to see guys going down, especially when there’s no real need for it.”

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I think it will just be an aggressive sort of racing. A lot could go down

Geraint Thomas

Thomas, whose chances of winning the

Paris-Nice stage race in March

were ended when he crashed on the penultimate stage, has previously spoken of his affinity with the Tour of Flanders.

“I was 10th three years ago and definitely feel I am a lot better now,” he said. “If I can get a bit of luck and ride it well, I have a good chance.

“This is my favourite race and probably the one classic that is suited to me the best.”

Thomas was picked to be Team Sky’s leader on Sunday even before Sir Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France winner, was drafted in to replace Ian Stannard.

Stannard, who broke a vertebra when he crashed into a ditch at Gent-Wevelgem, will now also miss the Paris-Roubaix race on 13 April.

The 255km (158-mile) Tour of Flanders is the second of this year’s

five one-day Monument races

and features 17 cobbled sections and 17 short climbs, including the iconic Koppenberg.

Thomas expects an aggressive race, with Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen and Peter Sagan all expected to challenge for the win unless it can be blown apart before the closing stages.

“I can see it [the winning move] being a bit earlier, but so much can happen,” Thomas told 

“We could sit for two hours talking about the different scenarios but I think it will just be an aggressive sort of racing. A lot could go down.”

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