ROME: Former winner Geraint Thomas (pix) disclosed Wednesday his “disappointment” at being excluded from the Tour de France by his team Ineos but said he was looking forward to spearheading the team’s challenge in the Giro d’Italia instead.
Ineos dropped Thomas, who won the Tour in 2018, and four-time winner Chris Froome from this year’s race.
While the Tour is midway through its second week in France both riders find themselves in Italy where they are using the Tirreno-Adriatico as a stepping stone to cycling’s other two major prizes.
Thomas, 34, is going for the Giro d’Italia while Froome focuses on the Vuelta a Espana.
“This may seem a little harsh but I don’t want to go to the Tour to ride just to help the team,” Thomas told Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I have the feeling that I’m at an age where I have to make the most out of every opportunity. In this sense, the Giro represents a better chance for me.
“ think I still have the form to be leader, another role in France doesn’t interest me,” said Thomas, who also finished second to teammate Egan Bernal in last year’s Tour de France.
“To not be 100% was a disappointment,” added Thomas, who believes the route for the Oct 3-25 Giro will “suit me”.
He came in only 37th in the Criterium du Dauphine last month but thinks he is “a little better” now and has been picking up encouraging vibes from his performances in training.
Ahead of the Tirreno-Adriatico’s third stage he reflected: “The first two days helped to find my rhythm. Wednesday is interesting.”
Going into the longest stage of the race Thomas is 20 seconds behind Pascal Ackermann in the general classification.
After the Tirreno he could take in the time-trial at the world championships in Imola, Italy at the end of the month before trying to become the first Welshman to win the Giro. – AFP