Newton-based cycling ace Geraint Thomas is relishing the challenge of a punishing month in his cycling career as the Tour de France and Commonwealth Games await.
Wales star Thomas, who spends part of his season living in the borough, also has the National Championships time trial and road race on familiar territory in Monmouthshire ahead of him during the next four days,
Thomas is part of a 17-strong Wales team for Glasgow next month that also includes the likes of multiple world champion Becky James, world and European team pursuit gold medallist Elinor Barker and Thomas’ Team Sky colleague Luke Rowe.
Thomas won a Commonwealth bronze in Melbourne eight years ago, but he opted to miss Delhi 2010 because of health concerns some athletes had around the environment in India.
“I am really looking forward to it,” said Thomas of his upcoming schedule, speaking during Wednesday’s Wales cycling team kitting out session at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport
“Obviously, I missed Delhi, so it has been a while now since I have been racing for Wales, so I am really excited.
“It gives you an extra motivation and an extra hunger this time around to really go there and try to do a good job.
“Personally, it (Commonwealth Games) means a lot. It is a big goal.”
After the nationals - and subject to Team Sky selection - the Tour de France beckons for 28-year-old Thomas.
If he completes the Tour, he will then head straight to Glasgow for prospective medal bids in the time trial and team pursuit.
“The Commonwealth Games is always a bit of a weird one,” he added.
“It’s not like your average pro race, it is a lot more of racing a bit more spontaneously with more random attacks, and you are racing from the off rather than letting a break go and then racing at the end. It is racing from the word go.
“It’s definitely an experienced (Wales) team. I am used to racing with Luke, we know each other really well, and the younger lads have done some really big races. They know how to race.
“I think we can work really well together, and hopefully with a bit of a luck we can can come back from Glasgow with a medal.
“My preparations have been good. I have been working hard to try to get a place in the Tour as well, so form is looking good.”
Thomas will contest Sunday’s National Championship road race alongside the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish - Thomas won the title four years ago - before the world’s biggest cycling race potentially awaits.
“The road race (National Champs) is always a bit of a lottery,” he said.
“You don’t really quite know what is going to happen, but I am looking forward to racing around on home roads again.
“When it comes to the Nationals, it’s every man for himself in a way. Everyone has a free rein to try to win the race, which is what makes it special, but also a bit random at times.
“The team hasn’t been selected yet (for the Tour). Hopefully, I will be there.
“I wouldn’t say it is ideal prep for the time trial in Glasgow or the road race, but it’s part of it. It is a challenge, but one I am definitely looking forward to.”