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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 19:39 GMT
Thomas backed for Beijing glory
Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas has enjoyed a memorable 2007
The coach of cyclist Geraint Thomas says the Welsh public need to recognise that the Cardiffian is one of their top hopes for next year's Beijing Olympics.

Shane Sutton told the BBC's "Sport Wales" programme that Thomas is one of the strongest contenders for a gold medal that the country has.

"I can see a medal beckoning, definitely," said Sutton.

"I think he's the best hope that Wales has and people need to sit up and realise that."

606: DEBATE

Thomas, who has spent the last six weeks at a training camp in Perth, Australia, is now in Beijing competing in the latest leg of this year's UCI Track World Cup.

He says that the chance to race on the track which will also be used during next summer's Olympics is a real boost.

"Obviously the Beijing World Cup will be a really good tester on the new track and will be a chance for us to see what it's all about so it's not new when we turn up there in eight months time," said Thomas.

The 21-year-old is hoping to add Olympic gold to the World Championship gold he won as part of the four-man team pursuit in March this year.

That would be the icing on the cake for Thomas. who was the youngest rider to take part in this year's Tour de France and the only Welshman to ever complete the gruelling 2,206-mile race.

It seems that the Welsh public has already taken the young cyclist to their hearts, voting him third in this year's BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year at a ceremony on Sunday night.

*Sport Wales is on BBC Two Wales & 2W on Thursday at 2200 GMT.

SEE ALSO
Sport Wales: The TV programme
07 Sep 07 |  Wales
BBC Sport Wales coverage
05 Nov 07 |  Wales
Profile: Geraint Thomas
26 Nov 07 |  Wales
Exhausted Thomas proud to finish
29 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Scots & Welsh win cycling bronzes
17 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games


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