Geraint Thomas has headed to his Monaco base from his home in Wales as he gears up for a crack at regaining the Tour de France crown later this year.
The Cardiff-born rider flew out on Monday to ramp up his training for Le Tour which has been rescheduled to start in Nice on August 29.
On Monday, Thomas posted a photo on his social media accounts of himself on a plane, wearing a face mask, with the caption: “Boarded and ready to go.”
The 2018 Tour winner is one of many cyclists who base themselves in Monaco for much of the year having been in Wales since the coronavirus crisis struck.
During that time he did three 12-hour rides on consecutive days on his indoor trainer to raise £375,000 for the NHS.
Outdoor exercise has been allowed in Monaco since May 4 but from today has also been permitted in France, where lockdown restrictions have been easing, allowing him to train in the mountains above Nice.
He added: “I’m going back to France on Monday, so will be back out there and can train on the roads there, at the moment anyway,” At the weekend, he explained in an Q&A with online retailer Wiggle.
“That’s what the French government is saying, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Thomas has retained Le Tour as his goal for the year where his chief rivals are likely to be Team INEOS team-mate Egan Bernal, who took the Yellow Jersey from him last summer, and Chris Froome, the four-time winner who missed last year after a serious crash.
The Tour de France was due to start in July, but has been put back to the end of August in the revamped calendar giving him several months to find his form.
“At the moment, it’s been more about maintenance, keeping a bit of fitness and trying not to put on a load of weight. Everyone is locked in their houses and you can get into a bit of boredom eating and it’s easy to put on weight, especially when you’re not training as hard as normal,” he said.
“Once I go out to France, it’s still 15 weeks until the Tour, so it’s more about staying mentally fresh to get going and dig in over the next three or four months. Especially when I get back out there, it will be full-on knuckling down again.”