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Thomas reveals Commonwealth fear

Geraint Thomas
Thomas celebrates his Olympic team pursuit gold in Beijing

Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Geraint Thomas admits he may be forced to miss next year's Commonwealth Games.

The Welshman is expected to be required for Great Britain's Road World Championships bid in Australia which clashes with the Commonwealths.

Thomas won bronze in the points race at the 2006 Commonwealths and would have been a Welsh medal banker in Delhi.

"It's annoying that they clash," said Thomas. "The final decision might be out of my hands - it's a dilemma."

Thomas joined Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy and Paul Manning to break the world record and add the Olympic crown - one of eight cycling golds won by Great Britain in Beijing - to their Track Cycling World Championships title during a superb 2008.

The 23-year-old has also shown promise on the road and made his Tour de France debut in 2007 before riding the 2008 Giro d'Italia prior to the Olympics.

The Great Britain team is expected to want Thomas to help inspire Mark Cavendish to world domination in the highly tactical sport of road race cycling.

Cavendish, hailed as one of the fastest sprint cyclists in the world, won four stages of last year's Tour de France and the British road race sensation will be among the favourites for world championship glory in Melbourne when the event begins on 29 September, 2010.

Thomas would love a shot at winning Commonwealth Games gold in Delhi when the showcase begins on 3 October, 2010, but concedes that is unlikely.

"There has been no decision made at the minute," the Cardiff rider told BBC Sport.

"But the Road World Championships is massive in cycling and Mark Cavendish has a great chance of winning and I'll be one of those key riders who he would want to help him out.

Mark Cavendish
The Road World Championships is massive in cycling and Mark Cavendish has a a great chance of winning and I'll be one of those key riders who he would want to help him out

Geraint Thomas

"So he will definitely want me there with him in Melbourne.

"Obviously I really want to race for Wales and I want to improve on my bronze medal from 2006 by winning gold in Delhi.

"But if British cycling want me to race in the world championships, I don't think there will be anything I can do about it. I'll have to wait and see."

The Welsh Commonwealth team are hoping to improve on the 19 medals - three gold, five silver and 11 bronze - they won in Melbourne in 2006 in next year's Games.

So if Thomas, as expected, is called-up by the Great Britain team for their World Championship charge, it would be a blow for Wales' Commonwealth medal hopes in India.

"There's nothing I can do about it unfortunately," said Thomas.

"I suppose this is a good dilemma rather than a bad one as it's better to be wanted by two squads than none at all."

Helen Phillips, deputy chair of the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales, was "disappointed" that Thomas may be forced to miss Delhi.

"Geraint was expected to play a huge role in the overall performance of Team Wales," she said.

"And we feel it would be a great shame for Wales' Commonwealth Games efforts and for him personally when he's in such a strong position to win one of the top medals at the Games.

"But, of course, we have full appreciation for all our athletes' performance plans including the schedules they must manage in order to peak at the right times and the commitments to their governing bodies.

606: DEBATE
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"As such we hope we can continue to work with Geraint and GB Cycling to see how best the aspirations of Team Wales, Geraint and GB Cycling can all be accommodated, and importantly that Geraint is supported in order to fulfil his enormous potential."

Welsh cycling fans, though, will be able to see Thomas up close when he competes in the National Road Race Championships in Abergavenny later this month.

The 110-mile race on 28 June will be Thomas's first competitive ride since recovering from an operation to fix a broken hand.

"I broke my hand after crashing in mid-March," said Thomas.

"But in that crash I fractured my pelvis so I was more concerned with that.

"But I only found out my hand was broken about a month ago and I underwent surgery so I've been having rehab.

"I'm seeing my surgeon this week so hopefully I'll be back out training on the road next week and be back for the Nationals in Abergavenny.

"I'm looking forward to that as it's always good back racing in Wales and that is keeping me motivated in my rehab."

Thomas will go head to head with fellow Olympians Cavendish and Wiggins in the national championships and David Millar, himself a Tour de France stage winner, will also star in Monmouthshire.

"It's probably the strongest field for a Nationals in probably 10 years," said Thomas.



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see also
Cavendish targets Tour finish
02 Jun 09 |  Cycling
Olympic stars in national field
12 May 09 |  Cycling
British riders dominate World Cup
31 Oct 08 |  Cycling
Thomas extends Welsh medal haul
18 Aug 08 |  Cycling
Thomas enjoys Tour experience
01 Aug 07 |  Cycling


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