GERAINT Thomas has a fighting mentality the likes of which Sir Bradley Wiggins has never seen before, and that will fire him to a second Tour de France title.

Wiggins, Britain’s first Tour winner, has given his backing to Thomas to regain the crown he won in 2018 following some impressive recent form.

The Cardiff rider, who turned 35 last month, recently won the Tour de Romandie, his first stage race victory since riding the yellow jersey into Paris three years ago.

Slovenian pair Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic, who finished first and second on last year’s Tour, go into the race as favourites.

However, Wiggins believes his former team pursuit teammate Thomas can get the better of them.

“He can go to a level of deepness that I have never seen anyone do before,” said Wiggins, who will be part of the presentation team for the Eurosport and discovery+ live coverage of the Tokyo Olympic Games

“He is not fazed by crashes; I think his squad is going to be super strong around him. When he wants something, he will get it. That is what will beat them.

“He is a better competitor than the others. He has got the experience, he is wiser.

“He has tasted success and defeat and I just think that he is poised to win his second Tour.

“I watched him at the Tour of Romandie which is a big mid-season race, and his demeanour, his body language, everything about him, he looked in control.

“There is a maturity about him this year that I have not seen before. He has got kids now; he is at a ripe age in cycling.

“He’s got over the hysteria and fame side of things from a few years ago and I feel like there’s something about to happen with him.

“It’s an Olympic year as well, with it being delayed, I think this will probably his defining year.”

Wiggins enjoyed his own annus mirabilis nine years ago, following up his Tour de France victory with Olympic gold in the time trial at London 2012.

And while Thomas can push himself as deep as anyone Wiggins has seen, Britain’s most successful-ever Olympian was never one to shirk the hard work either.

He explained: “There were moments of individual doubt. Everyone is quite insecure because you constantly doubt yourself, it is the fine tightrope you walk. I do not think it would be normal if you did not have that.

“You are always looking over your shoulder at the next person who could take your spot. It is what drives you, it becomes a very brutal existence.

“I would go out on my bike (in those moments of doubt). I would do something that I did not think anyone else was doing.

“I would do an hour longer, always try and put in more because that was the only way you could reassure yourself.

“When you are on an Olympic final on the line, you want to know that you have done every session, you haven’t flinched once.

“When you are on that Olympic line and doubting yourself, asking ‘have I done enough?’, you think of all those things that you ticked the boxes for, knowing that you have done everything.

“That gave you the reassurance and the confidence going into the Olympic finals, knowing you have worked harder than anyone else. That was how we did it.”

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