Exclusive: Mid-Tour de France interview with Geraint Thomas
Internationally renowned cyclist, Geraint Thomas.
Have a thought for Geraint Thomas. As each cycling season culminates with the Tour de France, he cannot escape the sport that made him famous, pressed by the accumulated weight of public expectations.
It’s almost oppressive. Cycling fans flock to his DMs, they outsource him, they give him tactical advice and sometimes – cruelly – tell him that his days as a GC contender are over.
There are also all the questions. So many questions! Does he have the kick to take on the Pogs and Rogs of the world? Does he feel good after this contact with the wheels? Can he regain the time he has just lost? Can he recommend a bike to them? Is it never will he still win the Tour de France?
All year round: Tweets and Instagram messages by the thousands. This is just one of the side effects of being one of the most expensive stars in British cycling and a Tour de France champion.
There is just one problem. They have the wrong guy.
Do you see this person riding a bike on TV? See how he wasn’t on Twitter? Now that’s either my amazing multitasking at hand, or my absurdly good skills of delusion and cunning, or a good reminder that I’m not him. I’ll let you discover this one.
– Geraint Thomas (@geraintthomas) June 26, 2021
Since 2009, while internationally renowned cyclist Geraint Thomas was still riding for Barloworld, even before Team Sky (or Ineos, or the Grenadiers) existed, another Welshman called Geraint Thomas had the Twitter account. @geraintthomas. And as the cycling star Geraint rose, the other Geraint was forced to grapple with a sport that he was not particularly interested in. Meanwhile, @ geraintthomas86 – the one with the blue check mark and the yellow jersey – competes valiantly for the glory of Wales, Great Britain and the silly 4WD derivative of Jim Ratcliffe.
Now is the time to confess: I slyly observe this happening for several years with the fascination of a voyeur. In fact, I think a whole subset of the cycling world has it. This absurd situation is, after all, a victimless, low-stakes diversion from the maelstrom of the world’s greatest cycling race. Better yet, The Other Geraint Thomas get it, and it’s pretty funny.
So this year, after Bicycle Geraint Thomas hit the deck (again) and The Other Geraint Thomas responded with a terrific meme (again), I decided it was time to make contact: for know what it’s like to be mistaken for a world famous cyclist and Grand Tour winner multiple times a day. To try to figure out what it is 100% to be Geraint Thomas, but at the same time never be Geraint Thomas sufficient, and absolutely not the good Geraint Thomas.
– Geraint Thomas (@geraintthomas) June 29, 2021
CyclingTips: When did the confusion with Bicycle Geraint Thomas really take off?
The other Geraint Thomas: As long as I can remember being on Twitter, I have been confused. [It was] a little confusing at first as I had no idea there was another Geraint who was famous, so getting random comments from strangers asking for my well-being was a bit strange. Endearing at first, then utterly bizarre, then creepy… and then the penny dropped.
You seem to be taking it in a pretty good mood… has it ever been boring, or a problem, or have you always been able to take it in your stride? Has 2018 brought you to the brink?
I had a moment where I thought that would start to weigh on me, which cyclist Geraint put in quite a funny way in his first book, including some of my first outbursts of not being a cyclist.
Then 2018 arrived [when Bicycle Cyclist Geraint Thomas won the Tour] and I didn’t have much of a choice… I was now known as “the other” Geraint. Lovely, but it’s all fun and games. Well it is for me, the other goes through blood, sweat and tears, while I respond to his misguided comments.
So that’s what it’s like to be famous.
– Geraint Thomas (@geraintthomas) July 29, 2018
Is July the peak month for your Twitter mentions, or does it go year round?
June / July is the peak month to turn off your phone, but things happen all year round. It’s not just Twitter, it’s Instagram too; I have the same grip on most of my social media platforms.
Bicycle Geraint Thomas or his management have they ever been in contact to try to acquire your Twitter account?
Rather the opposite. I contacted Team Sky (at the time) to see if they wanted the grip to avoid confusion. They responded by stating that he was familiar with his current grip and that it would not be necessary. About a week later, Team Sky tweeted me by accident. I wish they could have seen my face.
Oh shit. https://t.co/w8FWeWgPqf
– Geraint Thomas (@geraintthomas) October 1, 2020
Have you had a glimpse of osmosis cycling, or is it totally confusing?
Both. It’s confusing, but seems to tick all the boxes for something I would appreciate. Races, sets, mechanics and a passionate audience, so technically I should like it. My brother-in-law and my dad are both fans and it’s usually through them that I see cycling. As much as I say I don’t like cycling, I just don’t want to look away.
Alright, I’ll bite. The TDF looks quite interesting. When things get back to normal, someone has to sit me down and tell me about cycling races. I don’t know my ass off my elbow with anything to do with it yet.
– Geraint Thomas (@geraintthomas) June 28, 2021
When you are not NOT to win the Tour de France, what is your job and what are your interests?
I am a university professor by profession and teach visual effects at the University of South Wales, having worked in the television industry at several television studios since 2010. Truth be told, my job is here. ‘one of my main passions and is sort of a dream job so I consider myself lucky to be in the position that I am.
Outside of work I am a huge motorsport fan and am currently preparing a track car to participate in track driving / racing myself. So technically there are two Geraint this race, but one has two more wheels and smaller calves. I have a number of other hobbies and interests, but for fear of falling asleep on your keyboard, I’ll stop here.
Let’s eliminate some FAQs:
– Yes I would like to take a tour of France
– No, I can’t recommend a bike
– Yes I have a jersey somewhere
– No I don’t usually get tired after climbing hills
– Yes my legs are fine thank you
– No, nothing happens
– Geraint Thomas (@geraintthomas) June 24, 2021
Do you have questions about our silly little sport?
An infinite amount. Why isn’t a “platoon” called a “peddle-ton”? How do they pee halfway with the amount they drink? Do they drink water or energy drinks? Does the car in front cause a wake? I could go on, but with my current cycling knowledge I might need a notepad and pencil to figure it out.