In an interview with Ironman hall of fame member Bob Babbitt last week, 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas said he intends to race an Ironman once he retires from professional cycling.
“I used to swim as a kid – I did a few triathlons,” Thomas said. “When I retire from cycling I definitely want to do an Ironman, or maybe a few. I’ll do the Wales one first, the bike course is supposed to be quite hard, so that could play in my favour. I think I’ll need something when I stop … 20 odd years of always having a goal … to then just stop and not have anything would be tough. Why not Ironman?”
It comes as no surprise that Thomas, who hails from Wales, would be keen to start his full-distance race career there. In addition to the challenging bike course, it was also the site of Cam Wurf’s first Ironman victory – the two often train together. Wurf is coached by Tim Kerrison, the head coach of Team Ineos, Thomas’ team. Wurf often attends Ineos training camps and let slip last year that Thomas had joined him for some swim and run workouts.
Watch Bob Babbitt’s full interview with Thomas
Here are some other former pro cyclists who have competed in Ironman races over the years:
We featured Wurf in our January 2019 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada. After representing Australia at the 2004 Olympics in rowing, he went on to a World Tour level pro cycling career with Cannondale before setting his sights on triathlon. He owns the bike course record in Kona and is renowned as the sport’s premier cyclist. In 2019, though, he showed this his running has improved dramatically. Thanks to that improved final leg, he won Ironman Australia and took fifth at the Ironman World Championship in Kona.
The 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the time trial, Emma Pooley went on to win the world title in 2010. She turned to multisport racing in 2014, winning the ITU world duathlon championships at Powerman Zofingen, setting a new course record in the process. She defended that title a year later, and also took ninth at the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne and won the Embrunman triathlon.
It’s hard to say if this Swiss star was a cyclist who turned to triathlon or a triathlete who embarked in cycling. She’s a four-time Ironman champion including wins in France (2002), Switzerland (2005 and 2010) and Lanzarote (2006). She also claimed many 70.3 titles and took the silver medal at the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. She was a two-time world time trial champion and took the bronze medal at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games in teh same event.
The American star burst onto the triathlon scene in 2012 with a runner-up finish to New Zealand Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty at Ironman 70.3 Panama. He won Ironman 70.3 Florida a few months later, then followed that up with a record-setting performance in taking Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. His full-distance debut was to happen at Ironman Nice, but just before the race the blood-doping charges that would eventually see him stripped of all his Tour titles were brought forward by the United Stats Anti-Doping Agency.
The American, a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong on the Motorola cycling team, won his first Ironman attempt in Lake Placid in 2001. He followed that up with a top-10 performance in Kona that year, too. Larsen passed away in 2009, apparently from viral or allergy issues.
Another former team-mate of Armstrong, McRae actually beat the disgraced Tour champion at the 1992 US Amateur Championships. His pro cycling career started in 1996 and saw him race for Mapei and U.S. Postal Service. He ended up with a few top-10 Ironman finishes during his pro triathlon career that spanned from 2003 to 2006.
The German rode for Team Telekom from 1993 to 2005. He competed at Ironman Lanzarote in 2006 and would eventually work for Ironman in Europe for a year before returning to cycling management. Aldag admitted to using EPO during his race career in 2007.
After racing for Team Telekom from 1996 to 2003, the German turned his athletic sights on Ironman. He finished 16th (and first amateur) at the 2004 Ironman World Championship, and took fourth as a pro at Ironman Austria in 2007.
Last year the 45-year-old from Kazakhstan took the age-group wins at both the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman world championships. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist also competed in Kona in 2018, finishing seventh in his age category that year. His participation in the sport has not come without some controversy – in 2007 Vinikourov tested positive for blood doping.
The former Tour of Spain champion from France also took his age category at last year’s 70.3 world championships in Nice, then followed that up with a runner-up finish in the men’s 50 to 54 category in Kona, improving on his fifth-place finish in Hawaii the year before.
After nine years with Slipstream sports (from 2011 to 2017 the team was called Garmin-Cervelo), the American turned to triathlon, winning his first race, an Olympic-distance race in California in 2018. During his cycling career he finished fifth at the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) and third at the Tour of California. Later that year he took eighth at his Ironman debut in Canada, but struggled to duplicate those results at a number of Ironman races in 2019 where he struggled through the marathon to 10+hour finishes.