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We salute the Sky rider who’s fighting hard for his team despite a fracture to his pelvis

Let’s hear it for Geraint Thomas! Seriously, the Team Sky rider has performed heroics in this year’s Tour de France despite sustaining a fracture to his pelvis in a crash on day one.

Cycling in general, and the Tour de France in particular, is full of stories of hardnuts who carry on pedalling despite everything. Everyone remembers Johnny Hoogerland and Juan Antonio Flecha getting knocked off their bikes by a car in the 2011 Tour, to take an example from recent history, Hoogerland ending up in a barbed wire fence, yet both were patched up and carried on racing. Geraint Thomas’s efforts over the past few days have earned him a similar place in Tour folklore.

This is Cardiff-born Thomas’s fourth Tour de France, his highest placing having been 31st overall in 2011 when riding in support of Bradley Wiggins. He’d probably have finished higher still but that was the year Wiggo came off and broke his collarbone, and Thomas waited with his team leader while the damage was assessed. He missed last year’s race having returned to the track following the Giro d’Italia to focus on the Olympics – a decision that raised eyebrows among some in the pro cycling world.

In London, of course, he was an integral part of the GB team that won the 4000m Team Pursuit, adding to the gold he took in the same event in Beijing and setting a fourth world record in the process. Still only 27 years old, he has three senior world championship titles behind him on the track along with a national road race title from 2010.

The pelvis damage happened on day one of this year’s Tour. Thomas predicted last week in an interview with the BBC that the first Corsican stage – a mass start road stage rather than a prologue – would be messy with riders who wouldn’t normally be in with a shout going all-out for the maillot jaune.

“I think it is going to be carnage,” he said. “It is a bit of a nightmare of a start because a lot can go wrong.”

And it did. Thomas was involved in a crash – a spectacular one – and although initial X-rays didn’t reveal any bone damage, more medical attention after stage two found that he’d sustained a fracture to his pelvis.

Some of us might have ridden with broken bones in the past but probably not a bust pelvis and probably not in the Tour de France. Thomas is clearly in severe pain and has described the past few days as his most difficult ever on the bike.

Yesterday morning Thomas needed help to get onto the bike but he still finished the stage… admittedly right at the back of the field but, come on, the guy has a serious injury. Then he revealed on TV that his mum had told him he should pull out of the race. Maybe she's right.

Today, Thomas raced the team time trial with the rest of Team Sky, and rather than struggling to make the cutoff time like many had expected, he only dropped off the back for the final kilometre once he’d put in a big shift. Thomas isn't the only one either. Tony Martin was concussed on Saturday, lost consciousness, and was stretchered on to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step coach, yet he was still out there pushing a huge gear for his team earlier today. 

If Geraint Thomas does need to pull out of the Tour at some point, who could blame him? He’s already done enough to earn a reputation as one of the Tour’s toughest riders.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

29 comments

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Not KOM [79 posts] 3 years ago
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He's going down in Tour history for this one. After all, Andy Schleck took a long time to recover, and his riding in the TTT today was magnificent.

We love you Geraint! Be brave, dig deep.

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WolfieSmith [1327 posts] 3 years ago
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I cracked two ribs last autumn and couldn't stand up in the saddle for three weeks so god knows what Mr T is going through. He's definitely looking a little drawn. I hope he makes it to Paris again. A decent bloke and a great rider for sure.

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notfastenough [3716 posts] 3 years ago
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Ridiculous. To look at him off the bike you wouldn't peg him as a hard man at all. Chapeau G.

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 3 years ago
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I didn't like Geraint Thomas, I have chatted to him half a dozen times and helped him out with his bike twice for nowt cos I was a fan, then he never accepted my friend request on Facebook, so naturally I thought him a bit stuck up. This, along with him having the same shades as me, has totally restored my opinion of the guy.

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keith roberts [204 posts] 3 years ago
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The new "Mr T"....

as someone posted on twitter "how does he ride a bike with balls that big?"

great rider!  13

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Izaak30 [134 posts] 3 years ago
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Seemingly we are not MTFU anymore but G up! Priceless

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Super Domestique [1609 posts] 3 years ago
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Super G!
That TTT performance was stunning.

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chrisb87 [70 posts] 3 years ago
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They really need to introduce an jersey for most bad a** mother f****, there's been a worthy rider every year!

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Leviathan [2276 posts] 3 years ago
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drfabulous0 wrote:

I didn't like Geraint Thomas, I have chatted to him half a dozen times and helped him out with his bike twice for nowt cos I was a fan, then he never accepted my friend request on Facebook, so naturally I thought him a bit stuck up. This, along with him having the same shades as me, has totally restored my opinion of the guy.

What does any of this mean... you are clearly a stalker.

Come on GT - the bravest Lantern Rouge ever!

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abbeybob [15 posts] 3 years ago
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Given the retirement of Jens Voigt at the end of the season, in Geriant Thomas there is a worthy successor

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JonnieC [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Shame Premier League footballers can't take a page out of G's book.

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STATO [514 posts] 3 years ago
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keith roberts wrote:

as someone posted on twitter "how does he ride a bike with balls that big?"

The original line, how does he sit down with balls that big from Rob Warners commentary of Danny Harts 2011 DHWC.

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cowspassage [43 posts] 3 years ago
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Yes, yes. But when is he making another series of Blakes 7 though?

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bardamu [1 post] 3 years ago
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We really don't know were his pelvis is cracked, but I can't help thinking he must be equally stupid as he is brave. It's certainly not only his mother dissuading him from continuing.

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therevokid [972 posts] 3 years ago
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Talk about rule #5 !!!!

damn these guys are hard .....

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stefv [212 posts] 3 years ago
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Still impressed by Tyler Hamilton grinding his teeth down to the roots whilst riding the 2003 TDF with a broken collarbone. That is hard-core - doped-up or not!

Well done to G though. Respect!

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UnflappableEd [18 posts] 3 years ago
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Lad

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alotronic [487 posts] 3 years ago
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Hmmm, I must be the only one thinking this but it's just stupid to ride that injured. What's he proving? Big cajones? Ok, proved it, now go and recover!

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 3 years ago
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I did read that he had obtained medical advice that continuing to ride with the injury would not do any further damage to his hip. Notwithstanding that, his decision to continue to ride with what must be excruciating pain for hours on end and yet still performing is the stuff legends are made of.

As JonnieC says, footballing "hard men" should take note.

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notfastenough [3716 posts] 3 years ago
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alotronic wrote:

Hmmm, I must be the only one thinking this but it's just stupid to ride that injured. What's he proving? Big cajones? Ok, proved it, now go and recover!

I think this is one of those injuries where they can't do much with it regardless. I.e. the bone isn't out of place, he wouldn't be in plaster or anything, and the mobility isn't harming his health, it just bloody hurts. Taking that into account, he probably figures that he would rather take the pain and keep riding than be sat on the sofa kicking himself. If the doc reckons he'll feel better before the mountain stages then sorted.

Not that I have any facts to back this up; that's just my read of the situation.

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mrchrispy [480 posts] 3 years ago
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carrying on with broken bones is just another Friday night out in cardiff.

the boy is nails

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mingmong [265 posts] 3 years ago
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I wince with my 'plymouth argyles' heaven knows what he's going though with a fractured pelvis.

Respect due.

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neilysump [19 posts] 3 years ago
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Glad someone mentioned that - was a big fan of Hamilton's after that one (well, for a while until the inevitable doping ban).

So impressed by G - its the way he shrugs it off in a "yeh, its just a fracture" kinda way that makes my complaints on the weekend's ride about too much beer the night before pale in comparison!

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djb123 [86 posts] 3 years ago
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cowspassage wrote:

Yes, yes. But when is he making another series of Blakes 7 though?

I remember when my dad first heard the name, 'Wasn't he in Blake's 7?'.

It will probably not have Gareth Thomas in it but there will be a remake on syfy.

As for Geraint, I'm not sure if I admire him or think he's an idiot. I'm currently recovering from a broken wrist and am in agony half the time when I ride, god knows what it is like for him.

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TeamCC [146 posts] 3 years ago
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I went cycling with a friend on the weekend who hasn't ridden a bicycle for a few years. They mention how sore they were from the seat. I showed them this guy! Capital Cycles

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 3 years ago
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neilysump wrote:

Glad someone mentioned that - was a big fan of Hamilton's after that one (well, for a while until the inevitable doping ban)

I was going to mention Hamilton but didn't due to the PEDs. Even though he was on the juice, it still must have been agony for him (but not for his dentist, who probably promptly retired to Malibu and bought a Pinarello  4 ).

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alronald [58 posts] 3 years ago
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abbeybob wrote:

Given the retirement of Jens Voigt at the end of the season, in Geriant Thomas there is a worthy successor

Love it. Need some suitably worthy Geraint quotes

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synoptic [10 posts] 3 years ago
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alronald wrote:
abbeybob wrote:

Given the retirement of Jens Voigt at the end of the season, in Geriant Thomas there is a worthy successor

Love it. Need some suitably worthy Geraint quotes

"Shut up Pelvis!"

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Argy [138 posts] 3 years ago
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mckechan wrote:

Still impressed by Tyler Hamilton grinding his teeth down to the roots whilst riding the 2003 TDF with a broken collarbone. That is hard-core - doped-up or not!

Well done to G though. Respect!

2nd that motion!