Geraint Thomas reckons he is riding the crest of a wave as he returns to Italy after hitting a downward spiral earlier in the season.
Wales’ 2018 Tour de France champ showed his return to form when finishing second on the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race this month.
Now he is hoping to use that momentum when lining-up for GB in the World Time Trial Championships at Imola on Friday.
And Thomas will be back in Italy for his second crack at a second Grand Tour success when the Giro d’Italia starts eight days later.
“I think I was a bit lighter,” said Thomas of his performance on Tirreno which came just a few weeks after a disappointing outing at the Criterium du Dauphine ended his Tour hopes.
“I went on a strict sort of regime really. I worked with the nutrition, the team were telling me how much pasta, protein, and veg to have. I was just doing like long easy rides – six, seven-hour rides.
“That helped just shift a bit of the weight and that’s made the biggest difference really. The power was decent in the Dauphiné, I was just running a little heavy early on. When you’re not really going great as well, mentally you’re just a bit not quite there.
“Come Tirreno, I went in there as a leader and was feeling better on the bike and suddenly rather than a downward spiral, you’re just riding that crest of a wave. As days go by you get more confident and you grow as a team, that’s the biggest thing.”
The ITT at the worlds – Thomas will be joined by Alex Dowsett in the G team – will be a perfect sharpener for the Giro which includes three ITTs this year.
“Obviously it plays a big part. But at the same time, I would have wanted to do [the Worlds] anyway just because I rarely get a chance to race,” he said.
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) September 22, 2020
“I’m always on my knees by the end of the season after a typical year. But obviously, this is anything but. I’m feeling pretty good and I would have wanted to do the TT anyway but obviously having three TTs at the Giro gives extra importance to it.
Thomas knows he will be up against a tough field including two Ineos Grenadiers team-mates in Filippo Ganna and defending champion Rohan Dennis as well as Dutch powerhouse Tom Dumoulin who has just come off the Tour.
The 34-year-old predicted: “I think someone coming out of the Tour will win.
“The course is fine but I would have liked a more undulating course ideally. But from the last days of Tirreno I have had, I was in the mix there.
“I am just hoping to be there or thereabouts. Obviously, I am going to give it everything I’ve got and try to get the best result possible.
“But yeah, we’ll see. It’s strange as well as it’s the first TT I’ve done outside of a stage race… I’ve done nationals twice, maybe, and the Olympics once. It’s different but it’ll definitely help for the Giro as well.”