It’s official: Geraint Thomas won’t be racing the 2019 Vuelta a España.
Despite rumors that the 2018 Tour de France champion might pivot toward the Spanish grand tour, sources close to the Team Ineos star confirmed Monday the Vuelta is not in the cards this year.
Instead, Thomas is expected to race the Deutschland Tour (August 29-September 1), the one-day Canadian WorldTour events (September 13 and 15), and the Yorkshire world championships (September 29).
Thomas, speaking last week on the “Watts Occurring” podcast with Ineos teammate Luke Rowe, already hinted that he would start the rebooted German tour.
“I’d say content,” Thomas said of his Tour podium behind teammate Egan Bernal. “A teammate in front of me, it makes it OK. If it was anyone else, I’d be annoyed. The last 13-14 months, it’s just been mental. I managed to get back into decent enough shape to get back on the podium. I would have taken that [second] two years ago.”
That didn’t stop conjecture that Thomas, 33, might start the Vuelta for just the second time in his career. Some wondered if Thomas, who expressed frustration after riding to second overall at the Tour de France despite having very good form, might take a run at the red leader’s jersey starting in late August.
Thomas said the allure of having the world championship on British soil also meant that racing the Vuelta might be too much after a long season. Thomas said he would ride as a helper during the world’s road race, but aim for the world time trial title win.
“The worlds being in the UK is massive for us Brits,” Thomas said. “I’d love to do a decent job in the road race and do a good job for Swifty [Ben Swift], who should be the main man there. I’d like to do the TT as well.”
Team Ineos, meanwhile, has yet to finalize its Vuelta roster. Along with Thomas, recent Tour winner Bernal and the injured Chris Froome, now an official two-time Vuelta champion, will also miss the season’s third grand tour. It appears Pavel Sivokov, hot off winning the Tour of Poland, will also race the German tour instead. Instead it’s expected that Spanish rider David de la Cruz and Tao Geoghegan Hart, who crashed out of this year’s Tour, will lead the British squad in Spain.