Thomas plans marathon ride to raise money for NHS

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas finished second at the 2019 Tour de France, having won the prestigious race in 2018

Former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas is to undertake three epic rides to raise money for the NHS during the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Professional cycling is on hold, with no competitions until at least 1 June.

So Thomas is going to cycle at home in Cardiff for 36 hours over the course of three days, starting on 15 April.

“I thought I’d set myself the challenge of mirroring an NHS worker’s shifts – so doing three 12-hour shifts,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Thomas, 33, will take on the challenge in his garage on an indoor training bike, using a cycling training app to record his progress.

“Ineos and the team have been doing their hands-on project where they’ve been providing free hand sanitiser to the NHS in the UK, and all over Europe, and I wanted to do something myself.

“Riding a bike is kind of what I can do… 7.30 in the morning until 7.30 in the evening on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

“I’m a little nervous about it to be honest… spending 12 hours on a bike three days in a row. The longest I’ve done before is eight hours, 20 minutes maybe – that’s obviously on the road.

“But to be sat in my garage just pedalling for 12 hours I think mentally it’s going to be as much, if not more, challenging than the physical bit of it.

“Average speed on a flat day on the Tour would be close to 50km an hour on some days which are three and a half to four hours long, if the wind is in the right direction.

“For me doing this challenge it’s purely about getting round, I won’t be in a rush, but power-wise for those that know about power it’ll be around 200 watts I guess, which is a nice leisurely pace.

“It’s all about survival, as 36 hours in three days is a fair amount.

“But it’s a decent challenge and hopefully we can raise a bit of money for the NHS and who as we all know are doing such an amazing job at the moment.”

‘We’d love the Tour to happen’

With Team Ineos unable to race competitively or train together, Thomas has returned to Cardiff with wife Sara and six-month-old son Macs.

Thomas won the 2018 Tour de France and finished runner-up last year behind Ineos team-mate Egan Bernal.

The 2020 Tour de France is scheduled for 27 June to 19 July, but other dates are being considered by organisers ASO for cycling’s biggest event.

The Giro d’Italia has already been called off this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, along with the ‘monument’ one-day races Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

“I’m just praying and hoping it goes ahead at some point, that’s the main thing for us,” Thomas added.

“Obviously there’s bigger things that need to be sorted out first, but as soon as it’s safe and ready to go ahead we’d love it to happen.

“It’s the pinnacle of the sport and what it’s all about.”

Listen again to the full interview on The Guest List podcast.

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