Thomas puts focus back on track
Geraint Thomas has boundless potential on the bike and will bid to continue to prove it in Olympic year.
For the past few years, Thomas has been showing his apparently limitless ability on the road, by heading the best young rider's category at the Tour de France, challenging for sprint finishes and leading the peloton over the toughest Pyrenean Cols.
However, his one focus for 2012 is simple - going around a 250-metre track for four kilometres with three friends with the aim of defending the Olympic team pursuit gold medal he won in Beijing in 2008.
The 25-year-old from Cardiff said: "I'm a completely different rider to then. I've had a few good years on the road now and moved on leaps and bounds.
"Track-wise it's still to be seen. I found November quite difficult after a long hard road season, but I think that definitely helped where I am now.
"Within a relatively short space of time you soon find your track legs again and I've been feeling pretty good.
"For me it's all about racing, that's what we train for."
As soon as his second stellar season with Team Sky came to a close, Thomas returned to the Manchester Velodrome to hone his track skills, which will be on display at the London Track World Cup next weekend, a competition which doubles as the Olympic test event.
The team pursuit squad has changed since Beijing, Thomas and Ed Clancy the only survivors after the retirement of Paul Manning and Bradley Wiggins' decision to focus on the Tour and the Olympic road time trial.
Thomas and Clancy are joined by Steven Burke, Pete Kennaugh, Ben Swift and Andy Tennant in the squad for the London World Cup, with qualifying for the four-man, 4km event set to take place on Thursday.
Like Thomas and Wiggins, Kennaugh and Swift ride for Team Sky, while Burke won bronze behind Wiggins in the individual pursuit in Beijing. The individual event is no longer on the Olympic programme.
Much has been made of Wiggins' decision to move away from the track, but Thomas has confidence in the current group of riders.
"Brad in Beijing was a bit sick and he'll be the first to admit he was the weakest out of the four in that final," Thomas added.
"It's good we've got six guys pushing each other all the time and a lot can happen."
Clancy and Thomas have each been spoken of as among the best team pursuit riders in the world, but they are far from complacent about their place.
While this week's racing is important, the collective goal is for Britain to peak on August 2 and 3 to win Olympic gold ahead of rivals Australia, Russia and New Zealand.
Thomas added: "It will be good for us to get a race under our belts under the same roof as the Aussies and the Russians.
"They've been producing fast times over the winter, so have the New Zealanders.
"It will be good to see where everyone is. Everyone's going to be looking at each other and we want to go there and do our best and hopefully win, but we'll see how it goes.
"It's all part of the process in the lead-up to the Games.
"The Games is where we want to be at our best and win. If we got fourth in the World Cup, fourth in the worlds and won the Olympics I would take that over winning the other two and silver in the Games."
Thomas believes the world record time of three minutes 53.314 seconds, set in winning gold in China, will be bettered in London.
He said: "I think the world record will go at some point during the Games.
"People talk about numbers and times, but as long as we just go as fast as we can and go all out that's all we can do.
"I'll leave everybody else to talk about times - I just pedal as fast as I can."