Geraint Thomas says his former Team Sky and Great Britain team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins was looking for publicity when he described disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong as “the perfect” Tour de France winner.
Wiggins’ comment, made in his recently published book Icons, were a reference to Tour de France founder Henri Desgrange’s notion of the ideal champion of the race.
Thomas, who won the yellow jersey in July, six years after Wiggins became the first British rider to win the race, was speaking after finishing second to Peter Sagan at the Tour de France Shanghai Criterium yesterday, reports AFP.
He pointed out: "Brad's got a book to sell. He does not have to worry about anything, either. He does not have to race his bike and deal with journalists.
"He can just say what he wants and do any interview he wants so he can say something like that and get a load of publicity."
In 2102, Armstrong was banned from the sport for life and stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.
He still has the trophies presented to him, as he pointed out in a tweet to Thomas when the Welshman’s own trophy was stolen at the Cycle Show in Birmingham last month.
The Texan wrote: "G – bummer, dude. I got 7 of em if you wanna borrow one."
It’s an offer that Thomas declined. He said in Shanghai: “No, I'll leave that I think.”
Police have not yet recovered the trophy, and the Team Sky rider, who described the theft as “frustrating and disappointing, says he is “working on getting a replacement one."
He added: "But at the same time, I've got all the memories and the yellow jersey at home.
"But it's weird why someone would take that – it's not like you can sell it."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.