Best Coffee Q&A – Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas is a professional cyclist: winner of the Tour de France, two Olympic gold medals and three World Championships.
Born in Cardiff, Wales, Geraint began track cycling at the age of 10 and has been a dedicated sportsman ever since, winning the Carwyn James Junior Award at the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.
After a successful start to his career in the velodrome, Geraint signed to Team Sky (now INEOS Grenadiers) in 2010, competing in both tack and road events. After years of success in both pursuits and riding numerous Grand Tours; in 2018 Geraint achieved something all cyclists dream of. He rode to overall victory at the Tour de France and winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award months later. He was awarded an OBE for services to cycling in 2019.
In honour of our collaboration with his team’s namesake; the INEOS Grenadier; we caught up with Geraint to discuss all things cycling and off-roading. As brand ambassador for Pact Coffee; we also knew he’s have some interesting insights into the world of specialty coffee. Read the full interview to find out what coffee he likes to drink and why it’s worth cycling from Monaco to Italy for a decent brew!
Tell us a little about where you grew up and how you got in to cycling. Were you straight on to road bikes
I got into cycling through my local leisure centre where I used to go swimming. They happened to have an outdoor velodrome there and I saw an advert for a kids’ club that was starting up. This involved track bikes with no brakes and one gear which I thought was pretty cool, so I gave it a go and really enjoyed it. I converted to the road when I was a bit older and it all went from there!
Do you get to go back to Cardiff often?
I don’t really get back to Cardiff too often - it’s usually just every off-season, Christmas and then a few random long weekends here and there throughout the year. I find that the mentality when I’m home is different so it’s best to stay away whilst I’m focussing on the bike.
Judging by the Best Coffee app – Cardiff has some great cafes – where is your go-to place?
We live around an area which has plenty of nice places popping up all the time. There’s Grounds which has lovely coffee, nice food and is ran by a good friend of mine. I also really like Lufkin and a local park café which I go to when I’m out with my son, Max.
How about when you are overseas – any favourite haunts in Monaco or elsewhere?
There’s not as many options in Monaco, usually it’s the local Starbucks which does the job. We usually prefer to ride over to Italy and get a coffee there instead.
How heavily does coffee feature in your life? Does it dominate or are you partial to a cup of tea too?
Unless I’m at my in-laws for the odd cup of tea, it’s always coffee for me really. I wouldn’t say I’m much of a coffee snob, most of time I’m not too fussed and will take what I can get. But as I said, I’m much more partial to a decent cup of coffee.
Other than cycling what other sports do you enjoy?
I don’t really participate in anything other than cycling, but I do love watching other sports, especially international rugby. I also enjoy football – although, I support Arsenal, so I haven’t followed it so closely in recent years since we’ve been struggling a bit! Other than that, if there’s any British or Welsh athlete doing well, I’ll get behind them.
Can you tell us a little about your work with Pact Coffee?
We teamed up with Pact after they came out to the World Championships. Their coffee is a great Italian dark roast. I really enjoyed it, so we got talking and it all went from there.
The team’s namesake is of course the Grenadier 4x4 which has been with you on some of the races. What are your thoughts of it?
The Grenadier is a really nice car. Seeing the interior for the first time was exciting and definitely impressive. I would love to give it a go some day when it’s finally out and about on the roads!
If you could whack the bike on the back of it and take it anywhere in the World where would you go?
I think I’d take it to some sort of rainforest or something, maybe towards the Amazon! Somewhere I’ve never visited would be good. I would maybe even take it out to Colombia – I’m yet to go there and they seem to produce a few handy bike riders so the roads would be good for cycling, and I think driving the Grenadier off-road around there would be an awesome experience as well.
Who is the biggest coffee enthusiast in the team would you say?
I’d say Kwiato. He bought these two massive grinders for the kitchen truck and is always buying gadgets to make all his coffees with. Tao and Yates are big on coffee too.
- Espresso or filter?
- Milk or black?
- Sugar or no sugar?
- No sugar
- Instant or freshly ground?
- Freshly ground
Biggest change in cycling since you’ve been a pro?
I would say that the biggest change has been that the whole peloton is much more competitive now. The standard is much higher, everyone is training properly, eating properly and whole teams are going to altitudes now rather than just individuals.
There’s also been lots of changes to the bikes since I first started too. Electronic gears, disk brakes and continually getting lighter and more aero.
Hardest climb you’ve ever ridden?
The Mortirolo is up there percentage-wise and for its length. I would also say another pretty solid climb is the Col du Portet which I completed when I won the Tour.
Inner tubes, tubeless or tubs?
Favourite snack to find in a musette?
I generally don’t have a favourite snack. Although, in the Tour last year when I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I really got stuck into Luke’s stash of Snickers and Twix, which I really enjoyed!