No Tour rivalry, say Froome and Thomas
The two spoke Monday during a rest day at the Tour de France, where Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) leads over Thomas in second and Froome sitting in eighth at 1:42.
Froome is the defending champion and four-time winner, but Thomas is improving and sits higher up on the classification and could offer a valid alternative. He won the Critérium du Dauphiné in June.
The 2018 Tour is “a totally different situation” to 2012, said Froome, referring to when he and Bradley Wiggins fell out. Wiggins won the overall, but Froome appeared much stronger in the mountains and placed second overall. At the time, it appeared that Froome had missed out on an opportunity to win his first yellow jersey.
Froome credited Thomas for a strong first week and emphasized Sky’s team-first approach to the race.
“He’s riding extremely well and, like I said earlier, it just puts us in an even better place,” Froome said. “The race will decide that. For us, it’s fantastic to have different cards to play.
“Movistar have come here with three leading riders, and with only one GC contender it becomes difficult to cover all three. If you look at all the GC riders, G [Thomas] is right up there. It’s for other teams to attack us now.”
“It’s early to be talking about that,” Thomas said about the leadership roles
“Maybe if I’m still right there after Alpe d’Huez, it’s a bit different then. But we haven’t even done a proper climb yet. I’m certainly not getting carried away.”
After winning the opening time trial in Düsseldorf, Thomas led the 2017 Tour for four days. He abandoned due to a crash in stage 9.
He and Froome remain loyal to the team’s cause of winning the Tour overall and do not seem to be at each others’ throats. They have spoken, however, about their roles in the team with the team’s other six helpers.
“We’ve kind of spoken in general about things,” Thomas said. “And yeah, he’s keen for me to try … if I do have the chance to stay up there, to let me have that you know? But we’re honest with each other.”