2018 Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas, joined the Cardiff Blues Podcast this week to discuss his passion for rugby, the latest on his cycling career and arm wrestling with Ken Owens.
The Cardiff-born cyclist, who is a former BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner, has been a life-long supporter at the Arms Park, and continues to visit when the cycling calendar allows. He also was part of the 2019/20 Cardiff Blues jersey launch.
Thomas has fond memories of being on the terraces over the years and says he still gets the same enjoyment of visiting for the annual Boxing Day derbies.
“My Dad used to play for Carmarthen back in the day, and he was a winger and stuck to it a bit longer than me,” said the 33 year old.
“I remember going down to the Arms Park with him and especially whenever they played Llanelli because he was from out west. He’d support them and I was obviously Cardiff.
“I remember the buzz and the excitement. When you’re a young lad at around 10 or 11 years old, there’s the atmosphere and being stood in the stands watching.
“I remember from my Dad and people from around me chatting, you had Martyn Williams who came and Jonathan Davies.
"I went to one or two before the regions came but once I was 17 or 18, my cycling was really taking off and I was travelling around the world doing my own thing.
“I missed it for quite a while then, but kept tabs on it. Obviously I remember Lomu coming which was massive and these days it’s all about the Boxing Day fixtures.
“They’re really good socially and that’s what people are missing at the moment with everything called off. They miss that release and something to look forward to on the weekend.
“You go with your mates and chat about the sports you love and watch.
"It’s live sports, whatever it is, is good isn’t it? It’s so much better than on TV.
“It reminds me of being a kid and being down there, and being fascinated by it all. It’s brings back good memories.
“I always dreamed of buying one of those apartments behind the stadium and never having to buy a ticket again! Those were the days."
Of course, Thomas is another alumni of the renowned Whitchurch High School, which also famously produced other sporting stars such as Real Madrid and Wales’ Gareth Bale and former Cardiff Blues, Wales and Lions back row, Sam Warburton.
While the cyclist did make it onto the rugby field during his younger days, he quickly realised that he had to switch his focusing to the bike.
Thomas added: “I played for Whitchurch. I think I dusted Sam Warburton a few times down the wing! No, I was a couple of years older than him so I never played with him.
“I was fast as a kid, so I was just out on the wing. I’m not built to play rugby so as soon as it came to around year eight or nine, when everyone was growing, that was it for me.
“I had to stick to cycling, and was earning a bit of cash on the weekend, and that was a bit more appealing than getting beaten up on the rugby field!
“There was a wealth of talent as school, and you walk the corridors and there’s all the pictures on the wall of the internationals. You have people who have been to the Commonwealth Games, Olympics and everything. It was a really good school for that.”
The Cardiff Blues Podcast, which includes recent episodes with Geraint Thomas and Casey Laulala, are available now on all the major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts.