WELSH cycling star Geraint Thomas is relishing a battle with British teammate Sir Bradley Wiggins in tomorrow’s national time trial at the Celtic Manor.
The pair, both Olympic champions and both members of Team Sky, go head to head in the first event of the British National Time Trial and Road Championships tomorrow evening.
A host of cycling stars are in South Wales this week with the road race beginning and ending in Abergavenny on Sunday.
Cardiff rider Thomas, who won Olympic gold on the track in 2008 and 2012, is riding in both the time trial and the road race ahead of next month’s Tour de France and Commonwealth Games.
And he’s looking forward to the punishing schedule, which starts in earnest when the elite men’s time trial begins at 6.30pm tomorrow.
“I’ve been working hard to get a place in the Tour so my form is looking good,” said the 28-year-old.
“I’m looking forward to racing on home roads again. I hardly ever get a chance to do that and I’m looking forward to it.
"The road race is always a bit of a lottery," he added.
"You don't really quite know what is going to happen.
"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.”
With today’s time trial Thomas sees London 2012 time trial gold medallist Wiggins and reigning British champion Alex Dowsett as his main rivals.
“Brad has obviously done what he’s done; he’s no slouch but I’m looking forward to it. I’ll give it a good go,” he said.
“Dowsett probably runs a time trial every week as well so he’s a specialist.
“It is tough competition but I’m just going to go full gas and see where I end up.”
Thomas is part of a 17-strong Wales team for Glasgow 2014 that also includes the likes of multiple world champion Becky James from Abergavenny, her older sister Rachel James, Newport’s Jon Mould and Amy Hill and Sam Harrison of Risca.
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 can’t wait," said Thomas of his upcoming schedule, speaking during today's Wales cycling team kitting out session at the Celtic Manor 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."