Ex-Champions Froome, Thomas Left Out Of Ineos Tour De France Team

Sky’s British cyclist Christopher Froome crossing the finish line of the 20th stage of the 72nd edition of “La Vuelta” Tour of Spain cycling race, a 117.5 km route from Corvera de Asturias to Alto de L’Angliru close to Grandiella. Photo; JOSE JORDAN / AFP.

 

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas are glaring omissions from the formidable Team Ineos Grenadier line-up for this year’s race.

Froome will not get the chance to bring down the curtain on his hugely-successful spell with Ineos (formerly Team Sky) with a tilt for a fifth Tour yellow jersey as he “needs more time”, according to team principal Dave Brailsford.

The 35-year-old Kenyan-born British rider will instead aim for the Vuelta a Espana which runs from October 20 to November 8.

Froome has been trying to get back to peak condition after he was involved in a high-speed crash at last year’s Criterium du Dauphine which came close to ending his career.

However, Froome, who broke his neck, femur, elbow, hip and ribs in the crash, conceded he is not in the shape required for the gruelling race which gets underway in Nice on August 29.

“I’ve had an incredible recovery from the big crash I had last year and I’m in a very fortunate position to be back racing now already,” said Froome, who will be bidding to add a third Vuelta to his laurels having won in 2011 and 2017.

“But I’m not confident that I can really fulfil the necessary job that would be needed from me at this year’s Tour de France.

“I think it’s a lot more realistic targeting the Vuelta a Espana.

“It gives me a chance to really get stuck into something that’s deliverable.”

Brailsford had been fulsome in his praise of Froome when announcing the line-up even though relations are said to have been strained when the team decided not to renew his contract earlier this year.

Froome — who had been with the team since it came into being in 2010 — will ride for Israel Start Up Nation next season.

“Chris is a legend of our sport, a true champion who has demonstrated incredible grit and determination to come back from his crash last year.

“We want to support him to compete for another Grand Tour title and the Vuelta gives him that little bit more time to continue his progress to the top level.”

– ‘Some sort of positive’ –

Thomas will target the Giro d’Italia (October 3-25), leaving defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal as Ineos team leader.

“Egan will once again target the yellow jersey in France and we are very excited to give last year’s Giro winner, Richard Carapaz, his debut in this year’s Tour also,” said Brailsford.

“Geraint will target the Giro and take on the opportunity to double up his Tour de France win with another Grand Tour title, with the aim of being the first Welshman to win it.”

File Photo: Geraint Thomas

Thomas looked on the bright side of the new challenge that lay ahead for him.

“It’s nice to finally just have a firm plan in place and know exactly what I’m doing, and try to get some sort of positive out of this year,” said the 34-year-old Welshman.

“In 2017, I was in great shape, in similar form to what I was in ’18 when I won the Tour.

“The Giro ended badly that year with a crash and it’s something I’ve always wanted to go back to.”

Froome will have to wait another year and see if he can equal the record of five Tour wins jointly-held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

Brailsford said he and the coaching staff had reached their conclusions after a painstaking process.

“Selecting the right leader in the right race with the right support team is critical,” he said.

“And has meant we have had to analyse all the latest information to make sure we are in the best position possible to optimise our performances in the coming months.”

Ineos team for Tour de France

Andrey Amador (CRC), Egan Bernal (COL), Richard Carapaz (ECU), Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Luke Rowe (GBR), Pavel Sivakov (RUS), Dylan van Baarle (NED).

AFP

Cyclist Raises £300,000 With Turbo Bike Challenge

 

Former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas has raised £300,000 ($375,299, 345,288 euros) for Britain’s National Health Service after a 36-hour indoor cycling stint.

The Welshman rode a trio of 12-hour rides over three days on a turbo bike in the garage of his home in Cardiff in a bid to raise funds to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

The 12-hour rides were to emulate a typical shift of an NHS worker.

“No exaggeration, the last two hours were the hardest I have ever had on the bike,” Thomas told the BBC on Saturday.

“I could barely sit down,” the 2018 Tour de France champion added.

Professional cycling, in common with all major sport worldwide, has been suspended following the spread of the virus, with this year’s Tour de France delayed from June and July until August and September.

The suspension of the road race calendar prompted Thomas to set himself a challenge which he likened to completing eight or nine stages of the Tour itself.

 

 

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A post shared by Geraint Thomas (@geraintthomas86) on

“It has been solid,” said Thomas, winner of the 2018 British sports personality of the year award.

“I am going to have a week off to recover from this. It was 36 hours in the saddle over three days which would normally be a big training week for me.

“The longest ride I have done on the road is eight hours and 20 minutes in a group and that was with a coffee stop.

“On a turbo the longest was three hours and there is a lot of difference from that and riding outside where you have the scenery and downhill.”

The 33-year-old, a two-time Olympic pursuit gold medallist, added there were particularly personal as well as general fundraising reasons for his effort of endurance.

“My mum’s gone back to work at Velindre cancer hospital in Cardiff — she’s retired three times already and my best mate’s a GP (doctor) up St Helens way as well,” said Thomas.

“I’ve heard so many stories about what people are doing and it made me just want to try and play a tiny, tiny part by trying to help out in a small way.”

Thomas lags a long way in funds raised behind a 99-year-old former soldier, Captain Tom Moore, who has become a national hero by raising over 20 million pounds by walking 100 laps of his garden.

Wiggins Tips Thomas For More Tour De France Glory

Tour de France winner Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas (L) wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey and classification third-placed Great Britain’s Christopher Froome (R) cross the fisnish line of 21st and last stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Houilles and Paris Champs-Elysees, on July 29, 2018. Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

 

Bradley Wiggins has tipped Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas to retain his title after the Welshman ended teammate Chris Froome’s reign as champion.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Thomas finished nearly two minutes ahead of nearest rival Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) on Sunday to secure his first yellow jersey, with Froome in third.

The 32-year-old became the third Briton to win the Tour after Wiggins, who triumphed in 2012, and Team Sky teammate Froome, who had won four of the previous five races.

Wiggins expects Thomas’s profile to increase significantly on the back of his victory, saying he “may now be Wales’s biggest sports star”.

“A lot of people win things like this and they get caught up in the moment and don’t realise what they’ve achieved,” he said on Eurosport.

“But with Geraint, he’s watched the Tour since he was a kid and to him he knows what it is. I don’t think he ever imagined this would happen.”

Wiggins, also a former Team Sky rider, feels Thomas is entering his prime and is in a strong position to retain the yellow jersey in 2019.

“He’s at that ripe age now, 32. He’s matured as a person and an athlete and his laid-back approach will continue to carry him through,” said Wiggins.

“This success won’t change him at all and I wouldn’t put it past him to win again next year. This could be the start for him now. He’s won the Tour and it will only drive him on to do it again.”

Wiggins believes the hostile reception for the dominant Team Sky during the race could have given them extra motivation.

“I think for Sky it spurred them on, there was a definite unity with them,” he added. “This isn’t the first time they’ve had this, they’ve had it for a few years now.

“Sky work the hardest as a team. The Tour de France is the highlight of their season.

“It’s not fair for them to be accused of being too dominant. Yes, they have big budgets and some teams can’t compete with that, but you can’t blame that on them. You can’t blame Sky coming in and putting money into the sport.”

AFP

Britain’s Geraint Thomas Wins Tour De France

Tour de France winner Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas (L) wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey and classification third-placed Great Britain’s Christopher Froome (R) cross the fisnish line of 21st and last stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Houilles and Paris Champs-Elysees, on July 29, 2018. Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

 

Britain’s Geraint Thomas sealed his maiden Tour de France victory on Sunday after the 21st and final stage won by Norway’s Alexander Kristoff.

Thomas, of Team Sky, finished the race in Paris with a near two-minute lead on Dutch rival Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) to secure his first yellow jersey.

The 32-year-old Welshman, the third Briton to win the race after Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, secured Team Sky’s sixth victory in the race from the past seven editions.

AFP