Geraint Thomas: Skipping Tour de France a ‘two-way decision’ says Ineos Grenadiers rider

Cycling
Geraint Thomas

Former winner Geraint Thomas says the decision to miss this year’s race was mutually agreed between him and Team Ineos Grenadiers.

Instead the 34-year-old Welshman is targeting the Giro d’Italia

The 2018 champion had made a second yellow jersey his goal for the season but “didn’t feel in the right shape to be truly competitive”.

Thomas said the Giro d’Italia was “unfinished business” for him after he crashed out in 2017.

“I’ve always wanted to come back and this year seemed the right time to do it,” he told BBC Sport Wales, after safely completing the first two stages of the Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy.

“Obviously to start with I was disappointed because the Tour was the main goal. But not being selected – I wouldn’t put it in those sort of words because I could go there and do a job.

“But at the same time I’m at the stage of my career where I want to go to races and try to perform for myself.

“I don’t want to go – without sounding bad – to go and just ride for the team. I want to be fighting for the win myself.”

A point to prove?

After his maiden Grand Tour win at the Tour de France in 2018, Thomas enjoyed an autumn of celebrations.

He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and even appeared alongside Nicole Kidman on the Graham Norton Show sofa.

After a slow start to the 2019 season – and a crash in Switzerland just weeks before the Tour – he ended up on the podium again, second to team-mate Egan Bernal.

But the double Olympic champion on the track did not want to play a supporting role again in 2020.

He is now aiming to become the first Welshman to win the Giro d’Italia, which starts on 3 October, and indeed only the second Briton after Ineos colleague Chris Froome.

“The Giro is something I’ve always wanted to do well in,” he said. “Especially ever since crashing out in 2017 when I felt I was in really good shape.”

Thomas says he has not looked at other people’s opinions after he and fellow former champion Froome were not included in the Ineos Grenadiers Tour de France team.

But does he feel he has a point to prove in Italy?

“Not to myself but maybe to a few people,” he continued. “At the end of the day I just stay away from all that and worry about myself and my own performance.

“I don’t read anything. I rarely go on Twitter and the things I follow on Twitter are nothing to do with cycling.

“I don’t read what people write to me because I’m just not interested in their opinion, basically. That’s the way I deal with it. I stay in my own world.

“I’ve had some great results so far [in my career] and I just want to keep adding to that list while I can.

“It’s not like I was in terrible shape. It was just lacking that last little bit. What the extra bit of training, the extra race days will give me, we’re confident I’ll be there 100% ready to go at the start of the Giro.”

Thomas lies well placed in 22nd after two days of the eight-stage Tirreno-Adriatico, with the trickier mountain stages to come later this week.

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