We named our first son Owen, as solid a Welsh boy’s name as we could imagine, and our second Ian (rejecting the favorite, Jasper, within seconds of his arrival) because it was easier to Welshify into the less recognizable Ianto, which is what we call him at home. In the selection process for both, Geraint did feature on a very preliminary list, but we rejected it as too alien. We wanted names that were recognizable, that our boys wouldn’t have to repeat and spell over and over throughout their lives.
Geraint Thomas is an unlikely lad.
If you look through the membership of the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame, you will find two cyclists, Jimmy Michael who died in 1904, and the recently-retired Nicole Cooke. In short, there is not a grand history of successful pro Welsh cyclists. Young Geraint is the only one you can name, if you even knew he was Welsh, but you probably did because he’s always referred to as ‘the Welshman,’ probably because that’s what distinguishes him.
Except that now, maybe what distinguishes him is success. He won Volta ao Algarve in February, before taking the top step at E3 Harelbeke and then 3rd place at Gent-Wevelgem. No longer an almost-man, no longer a strong lieutenant, he’s a winner and leader in his own right, a candidate, if not a certainty, to contend at Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
That was all a long way of saying that I am pulling for him. He’s my favorite.
It’s been a long while since we tried to predict a big race here on the Group Ride, but this week’s Friday Group Ride asks who YOU think will win at Flanders. Without Boonen or Cancellara to pick, the race is perhaps more wide open than it has been in a half decade. I highly recommend Inrng’s race preview, and we look forward to hearing who you think will win this iconic race. Bonus question: Will you be watching?