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Page last updated at 06:31 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 07:31 UK

Thomas is tipped for road success

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Thomas targets Tour triumph

Chris Boardman says that Olympic gold medal cyclist Geraint Thomas can replicate his Beijing track success on the road with Team Sky.

The British team unveiled Thomas, who took Olympic gold in the Team Pursuit, as one of 16 recruits to the squad.

"I expect him to be as good a road rider as he is a track rider," said GB Cycling technical director Boardman.

"It's certainly his passion, probably more than the Olympic events... that we've seen on the track already."

Team Sky has been launched with the aim of producing a British winner of the Tour de France, with team principal Dave Brailsford believing that is realistically achievable within five years.

The roster so far includes several non-British riders, such as Columbia HTC's Thomas Lovkvist, and Norwegian pair Kurt Arvesen and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

But the experience and talent of those men should help underpin the fledgling team and provide the support for British members such as Thomas.

[Geraint Thomas] is motivated and he has the team and the set-up around him to help him do it

Chris Boardman

Boardman, who won individual pursuit gold at the 1992 Olympics and also three stages in the Tour de France prologue, is confident that Thomas, 23, will soon become a major force on the road.

"It's basically taking that engine and just applying it to a different task and he's [Thomas] well capable of doing that," added Boardman, speaking to BBC Radio Wales' The Back Page programme.

"He's motivated and he has the team and the set-up around him to help him do it, so it's going to be quite an exciting Tour de France to watch next year.

"There's a stronger British contingent but we have to build the riders capable of doing that [winning the Tour de France] and they'll likely come through the British system.

"We've got some good, strong international names that already we've seen are competitive in the Tour de France and there's some more names yet to come.

"At the moment there's still a lot of riders' spaces we haven't yet announced and that is because there's negotiations going on in the background.

"They're quite delicate things because honestly riders right now are signed to other teams, so there's quite a lot that people can speculate about and I think they're going to have to do that for a little while longer yet.

606: DEBATE

"The team is already very, very strong with the likes of Thomas Lovkvist and it may get strengthened even further."

While sprint star Mark Cavendish - who had six stage wins at this year's Tour - confirmed on Monday that he will stay at Columbia in 2010, there is still speculation that other big British names could join Team Sky.

Chief among those is Bradley Wiggins, one of Thomas' team-mates in the Team Pursuit in Beijing and a rider who equalled the best Tour finish by a Briton by claiming fourth this year.

"That's a question you'd have to ask of Dave Brailsford; I think it's something the British public would certainly like to see isn't it and it's a logical choice," Boardman said.

"But Bradley has a team [Garmin-Slipstream] at the moment and it wouldn't be an easy thing for him to come across.

"He's signed a contract [which expires at the end of next year] and he may very well have to see that out, so we might have to speculate away for probably another few weeks."

*Watch Sport Wales every Friday night on BBC TWO Wales (2100 BST), plus listen to The Back Page every Saturday morning on BBC Radio Wales and online (0830 BST).



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see also
Foreign stars sign for Team Sky
10 Sep 09 |  Cycling
Wiggins helps Sutton take stage
12 Sep 09 |  Cycling
Cycling's best of British
11 Sep 09 |  Cycling
James tracking down 2012 place
10 Sep 09 |  Cycling
Cooke to consider team's future
03 Sep 09 |  Cycling
GB elite riders set for Team Sky
24 Jun 09 |  Cycling
Wiggins drops track for Tour bid
28 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Wales given Games cycling boost
24 Jun 09 |  Cycling


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