We all remember Geoff Thomas – not for his eager
foraging or his forward runs or his totally committed,
whole hearted displays for Palace, Wolves, Rochdale,
Crewe or England. No, we remember him for
that miss, that one on one chance, versus
France, when clean through and just the keeper
to beat, where he elected to chip, but failed to
clip, even the corner flag. A moment of infamy,
a chance fluffed, and no matter how much he
puffed his way through his career, that was his
last cap, his last appearance on an international stage.
But his nemesis looms again. Higher, longer, steeper.
For now he’s to ride the Tour de France, to head the
peloton, admittedly a week in advance, but he’ll
be taking the same tortuous route, pushing his
body to it’s limits, a body that’s been riddled with
drugs, but legitimately so, necessarily so, desperately so;
administered a noxious coctail to combat cancer.
Just out of remission, Geoff is taking on a new
challenge, to raise money for charity in the fight
against leukaemia, his main rivals – not Armstrong
or Ullrich, Basso or Mayo, but Anaemia, Fatigue,
Piles and Pallor. Team Thomas will rely on
his ‘domestiques’ of Courage, Determination,
Spirit and Valour. Whoever wins the main tour,
whether it be a record seventh for Lance, or a new
name in the frame, there’ll be no-one more deserving of
the maillot jaune, than our Geoff.