Geraint Thomas insists he is ready to start the defence of his Tour de France crown in Brussels on Saturday.
The Cardiff-born rider powered into the record books when he became the first Welshman and only the third Brit in history to win the Yellow Jersey.
Thomas saw his preparations for the three-week race hit when he crashed at the Tour de Suisse last month which forced him out of the race.
The 33-year-old lost vital race time but says he has fully recovered for the opening stage of a race where he is still one of the favourites to win.
“I feel fine,” said Thomas. “There’s no lasting damage at all. Obviously, it was disappointing to hit my head.
“That was the reason I couldn’t carry on but I’ve still done some good training and I don’t think it’s affected me too much.
“I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone. If I end up as a one-hit wonder, it’s still a pretty good hit to have. A lot of guys just dream of riding the Tour de France. I have won it.
“I’ve always wanted to do as best I can and win as much as I can but at the same time if I don’t win this year it’s not like I’m going to retire and be like: ‘I should have won that stuffing Tour in 2019.’
“I’m not saying I don’t care. I am certainly going to give everything I’ve got. But I want to get the chance to soak this Tour up, not in too much of a way that it throws me off but just to appreciate it more.”
With four-time champ and team-mate Chris Froome ruled out after his own massive crash on the Criterium du Dauphine, this year’s race is predicted to be one of the most open in recent years.
“There are a lot of good guys, but obviously Jakob Fuglsang has been strong all year,” added Thomas.
“Richie Porte for sure will be there. The Yates brothers (Adam and Simon) – either of them. I never know which one it is anyway. So there are a lot of good guys, and that’s what makes it so interesting.
“I don’t know about being a favourite. That’s for everyone else to talk about. I can’t bet on the races anyway, so the odds don’t really matter to me.
“I feel in a good place and I’m looking forward to the race, and I just want to get going now.”
Thomas’ last major result was April’s Tour of Romandie, where he finished third, with fellow Team INEOS rider Egan Bernal triumphing on the Tour de Suisse after he was forced to quit.
And the young Colombian, just 22, could prove to be his biggest rival having been installed as joint team leader.
But Thomas is confident they can put that rivalry aside and work for each other just as he nad Froome did last year.
“Egan’s an honest and good guy, and as long as we communicate well and are open with each other, like Froome and I were last year, then it can work just as well,” added Froome.
“Obviously it will be a huge advantage to have two of us there in the finals.”
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