FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Geraint Thomas (Sky) sees the 2019 season as the “wrong time” to race for the Giro d’Italia’s spiral trophy. Instead, he wants to return to the Tour de France as defending champion.
Chris Froome also eyes a record-making fifth title in July. Team Sky will meet next week to sort out the two stars’ schedules as well as those for the rest of its riders.
“I definitely feel there’s unfinished business there [at the Giro], but next year might be the wrong time,” Thomas told BBC Wales.
“Being there [at the Tour] with No. 1 on my back, it would be a shame to know I wouldn’t be at my best, so I’m definitely leaning more towards that.”
The Giro and Tour organizers both have unveiled their courses for 2019. The Giro includes its usual high mountain passes through the Alps and a large distance of time trialing, 58.5 kilometers. The Tour leans more toward climbers, with fewer time trial kilometers and three of its five summit finishes over 2,000 meters above sea level.
Froome won the Giro d’Italia in 2018, the first Brit to do so, and went for the double in the Tour. When Thomas shined, Froome slipped into a helper role and placed third.
“Obviously, Froomey wants to go back to the Tour and win his fifth, which would be a record,” Thomas added.
Froome said at the Giro presentation, “I’m not 100 percent sure if I’ll be there at the Giro d’Italia 2019.”
Sky could send Egan Bernal or one of its other younger stars to lead the Giro team if Froome wants to concentrate fully on equalling the record of five Tour victories. Froome and Thomas would then have to establish leadership when racing in July.
“I’m not sure but if we both wanted to go to the Tour 100 percent, as long as we both ride like we did this year, we can both do really well,” Thomas continued.
“As long as we don’t race against each other, we both have our ambitions and that works well in training because we both push each other.”
Froome crashed in the Tour’s opening stage this summer and lost time while Thomas blasted away in the Alps for two stage wins: one at La Rosière and another at the Alpe d’Huez ski station in the yellow jersey. Instead of racing against each other, they worked so that Thomas could gain more time in the Pyrénées and Froome could finish on the podium.
Thomas said, “I just need to sit down with Tim [Kerrison, Team Sky coach] over the next few weeks and nail down a plan.”
They could reveal a plan soon. Just as he did last winter, Thomas plans to head to the U.S. for some holiday training around Los Angeles.
Sky seems eager to support the 32-year-old Welshman. In September, the squad agreed to a new three-year deal that takes Thomas through the end of 2021. It is estimated the British super team is paying him around $4.45 million).
Froome — winner of the Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 — is confirmed through the 2020 season. He starts his 2019 season in Colombia next month.