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Science in Sport is delighted to be the official nutrition partner of The Tour 21. Beginning on Saturday 19th June, The Tour 21 team of 25 amateur cyclists will ride the entire Tour de France route ahead of the official race, aiming to raise over £1m for Cure Leukaemia. Geoff Thomas is a survivor of leukaemia and a former professional footballer.
The Science in Sport team caught up with Geoff before he embarked on his final Grand Tour challenge.

When and why did you get into cycling, Geoff?

It was in 2005, I wanted to find a way to say thank you to all the doctors and nurses who helped me get into remission from blood cancer. After years of playing football I had bad knees, so getting on the bike was a logical way for me to take on a crazy challenge.

Why did you first get involved with The Tour 21?

Tour 21 is about raising crucial money for the Cure Leukaemia fund. Before this research was being done, patients would simply not have been able to receive treatment. Getting involved is about helping make the latest treatments available to more patients, so it is about delivering hope and saving lives.
Crawling up a mountain is hard but having been through the battle with blood cancer and being in bed for five weeks fighting for my life gives me the inner strength to persevere. That battle was harder than anything I have endured in my football career or while cycling.

What have been the main differences for you when you think about your career as a professional footballer and your role with The Tour 21?

The main difference is the duration. Football was punchy and short at 90 minutes a game, compared to days you spend in the saddle. When you get to the end of a day on the bike, the feeling of elation can feel like winning a football game five-nil.

Have you always considered nutrition and fuelling an important part of your training?

Science has played a part in the way every sport has evolved but cycling led the way. One of the first things you learn is that you don’t want to run out of fuel on the bike! SiS gels are the easiest for me to consume and keep my strength up.

Tell us more about your fuelling strategy for The Tour 21… What are your go-to SiS products and why?

To be honest, the strategy is to eat as much and as many products as I can! In all seriousness, it’s about getting something that keeps me feeling fresh. The gels (SiS GO Isotonic Gels) are fantastic on the bike as they are easy on my throat. And I do like the cakes (SiS Go Energy Bakes)!

How does your knowledge in sports nutrition compare now to when you first started out in professional football?

It used to be two pints of Guinness and a packet of crisps after a match… Now it is energy bars, so it has changed drastically! I wish I knew then what I know now.

Do you have any tips you’d share with amateur cyclists preparing for similar challenges?

What I do is say yes to a challenge. That is the hardest thing when becoming an amateur cyclist, just saying yes. Once you break that barrier, everything falls into place.

What’s next for you? Will you carry on cycling?

Yes, I would like to stay at this level of fitness. I learn more every time I do a challenge about how to stay healthy and hopefully, as the years go on I’ll stay on the bike. A guy I cycle with is 63 and he is as strong as a 25-year-old. It’s a great way of keeping fit!

Finally, any predictions for who will win this year’s Tour de France?

Obviously my namesake, Geraint Thomas!


Written By

Julia Deufel - content writer and consultant

Julia runs her own marketing consultancy, working with businesses and non-profits in education, nutrition, fitness and the arts. She also teaches a blend of HIIT and Pilates she developed and is an avid indoor cyclist. Julia is an advocate of effective altruism and believes in the power of sport to change lives.