When Geraint Thomas reaches the start line for the Commonwealth Games road race in Birmingham it will be a chance for many people in Wales to reflect on how they helped him get there.
Wales’ greatest-ever male cyclist will be going for gold, powered by his own talent and the funding supplied by everyone who has ever bought a ticket for the National Lottery.
In fact, National Lottery funding could be said to have nurtured the former Tour de France winner’s journey from an eight-year-old boy in Cardiff to podiums on the Champs-Elysees and, hopefully, in central Birmingham next month.
It’s money from lottery players that helped oil the wheels of Thomas’ first junior cycling club, the Maindy Flyers in the capital.
It was lottery funding that sent him to Melbourne in 2006 as a 20-year-old to compete in his first Commonwealth Games for Wales.
And it was £8m of National Lottery money that helped build the velodrome in Newport, re-named the Geraint Thomas Velodrome in 2018, the year he became the first Welshman to win the Tour.
National Lottery players help raise more than £30m a week for a variety of good causes across the UK and sport in Wales is just one of them.
In this 2022-23 financial year, over £7m of National Lottery funding has been allocated to support high performance sport in Wales and directly to some athletes.
At the same time, £3.5m has been committed to supporting innovative, inclusive and sustainable ideas from grassroots clubs and projects through the Be Active Wales Fund.
As such, the National Lottery has become a key partner for Sport Wales – from grass roots funding of clubs and governing bodies, to those sports men and women who make up the elite.
Along with Thomas, other Welsh athletes that will make up Team Wales in Birmingham – across 15 different sports – will receive support paid for by National Lottery-buyers across the land.
So, when you watch Thomas surging across the streets of Birmingham, or new mum Elinor Barker scorching around the cycle track, or para-athletes Aled Sion Davies and Harrison Walsh throwing in the athletics stadium, anyone who has ever been “in it, to win it” can feel they have played their part.