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Geraint Thomas: ‘The main goal of the season is always the Tour de France’

The 2018 Tour de France champion returns to racing this week to regain race rhythm following a winter that included shoulder surgery and a bout with COVID-19.

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Geraint Thomas returns to competition this week at the Coppi e Bartali with his mindset on being ready for the Tour de France in July.

The 2018 winner is racing for the first time since Volta ao Algarve in February and a big training block.

For the Ineos Grenadiers star, the weeklong Italian race is about rediscovering the racing rhythm after a hard winter that included a bout of COVID-19 and shoulder surgery.

“The main goal of the season is always the Tour de France,” Thomas said at the start line Tuesday. “There are a lot of important races that I want to do well in as well. At the moment, I am just thinking about this race. To work hard, get stuck in, do my bit for the team, and just enjoy racing again.

“Hopefully a lot better than I was feeling at Algarve,” he told CyclingProNet. “It was a slow winter, with the shoulder operation and COVID. I’m feeling a lot better now, and I am looking forward to a good week of racing here and my bit for the team.”

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Thomas, 35, lines up at the Coppi e Bartali race committed to kickstarting his season with the Tour as the ultimate goal later this summer.

With GC leader Egan Bernal still recovering from a horrific training crash in January, Ineos Grenadiers so far has indicated it will not shake up its grand tour program too much.

Richard Carapaz and Richie Porte will both lead at the Giro d’Italia, with Thomas, Adam Yates and Dani Martínez slated for the Tour.

Recent comments from team manager Rod Ellingworth, however, suggested that Thomas will not have a guarantee of GC leadership role at the Tour, but Thomas didn’t seem too phased about any of that speculation right now.

“Every year you want to perform at your best no matter what’s happening around you, but obviously losing our leader isn’t the best situation,” Thomas said of Bernal. “At least he is all good now and he’s improving, and that’s the main thing. And for me, it’s all about improving and trying to get better.

“Super-hard racing. The course looks tough, with a lot of hard climbs. It’s ideal for me to get that race rhythm back and kick on for the rest of the year.”