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Page last updated at 09:23 GMT, Saturday, 3 July 2010 10:23 UK

Geraint Thomas happy to back Bradley Wiggins' Tour bid

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The Brits on Le Tour

Cardiff's Geraint Thomas says he is happy to play second fiddle to team-mate Bradley Wiggins as the Welshman starts his second Tour de France.

"When you like the guy you're riding for it's much easier," the Team Sky man told BBC Radio Wales' The Back Page.

"Bradley's a good mate. I'm looking forward to the whole experience. There will be a chance for personal glory.

"It's definitely something I'm looking to win in the future but realistically that won't be this time."

The race begins with a short 8.9km (5.5 mile) prologue in the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Saturday ahead of 20 stages that will cover 3,642km (2,263 miles) before finishing in Paris.

The last time I was the youngest rider on tour and every day I was just grovelling

Geraint Thomas

The first hazard comes on Tuesday's third stage in the form of 13.5km of cobblestone roads near the finish of the 213km stage from Wanze in Belgium to Arenberg in France.

The race visits Belgium and the mountainous Alps and Pyrenees before heading to the French capital for the traditional Champs-Elysees finish.

The 97th Tour will be the second for 24-year-old Thomas, who is part of the first British team to compete since 1987.

The British Road Race champion finished 140th in 2007, nearly four hours behind winner Alberto Contador, becoming the first Welshman in 40 years to finish the gruelling race.

"I remember the pain, I've never felt anything like it," said Thomas, a world and Olympic track champion.

"The last time I was the youngest rider on tour and every day I was just grovelling.

"But I gained so much strength mentally and physically afterwards, it's definitely going to help me this time."

Spanish red-hot favourite Contador is chasing a third win, while seven-time champion Lance Armstrong will ride his final Tour.

Wiggins finished fourth while riding for Garmin last year, behind third-placed Armstrong and runner-up Andy Schleck.

Brailsford looks upbeat on Team Sky's Tour chances

Thomas is one of eight Britons in the 180-strong field, Steve Cummings and Wiggins the other two in Team Sky's nine-man team.

Wales is also represented in Team Sky by British Cycling's performance director Dave Brailsford and former Wales coach Shane Sutton.

"We're a new team but we have a lot of experience," Thomas told BBC Sport Wales. "We're ready to go, everyone's fit and fighting.

"I've been pretty busy in Rotterdam with administration and training, but I was able to relax with a massage and sauna on Friday.

"I'm in tip-top shape and looking forward to it - we've been talking about it since November.

"It was a bit of a shock what Bradley did last year, but it's given us confidence this year to really go for it.

"It's going to be an open race. Contador is a hot favourite, but he hasn't been firing on all cylinders.

"He'll be going well, but there's every chance that Bradley or someone else can win.

"A lot can happen with the cobbles and rain in the first week, so it's definitely all to play for."

Peter Kennaugh (left) and Geraint Thomas

Thomas takes road race title in sprint finish



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see also
Wiggins eyes Tour de France glory
01 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France 2010 guide
02 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France day by day
04 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Cummings and Thomas get Tour nod
24 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Contador man to beat - Armstrong
14 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Contador seals 2009 Tour victory
26 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong set for Tour farewell
29 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Thomas is tipped to shine on Tour
03 Jul 10 |  Wales
Thomas sets sights on Tour glory
10 Jan 10 |  Cycling
Exhausted Thomas proud to finish
29 Jul 07 |  Cycling
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
BBC Radio Wales' The Back Page
13 Jul 07 |  Wales


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