Sky sports director Servais Knaven says Geraint Thomas must change his schedule if he is to perform well at the Tour de France

Geraint Thomas must push for the Tour de France after a successful 2015 and sacrifice the Classics, says Team Sky’s Servais Knaven.

Thomas won E3 Harelbeke and placed third in Ghent-Wevelgem this spring. At the Tour, he sat fourth overall, battled for the podium and helped Chris Froome win the overall. Only in the last two mountain days, after a crash, did he slip to 15th overall.

Sky will focus his energies in 2016 on stage races and preparing for the Tour de France. Knaven, winner of the 2001 Paris-Roubaix and sports director for Sky’s Classics team, explained that it is the right move given the 29-year-old Welshman’s progression.

“These days, it’s so much focused on the Grand Tours. If you want to win the Tour, you can’t spread yourself thin over the Classics. It’s harder and harder to do so with it becoming so specialised,” Knaven told Cycling Weekly.

“In a few years, it’d be even harder for him. He has to change his focus to stage races, ride more in the mountains if he wants to do it. This is the last step that he needs, it’s more than normal that he can go for it.”

Cycling Weekly spoke to Geraint Thomas in early 2015
  • Jay

    Really? He looks like he has a bigger frame eventhou they are abt the same height.

  • J1

    He walks around at the same weight as Froome….

  • johnny2names

    I agree in many ways Mark. I don’t know that he can’t win a GT; perhaps he can, he’s certainly up there talent-wise. But as mentioned elsewhere, He has to play second fiddle at sky to Chris Froome, and they are of a similar age. Does he spend the next 5 years as the super domestique and getting the odd top 5 whilst watching Froome win every time? Or does he get to have a go at Giro or Vuelta? Does he finish 3rd at the tour next year but is then happy to stay the loyal number 2, or does he then fly the coop to take leadership elsewhere?
    I think he has a very strong chance of winning Flanders in the next few years, that race is perfect from him- And he also has a realistic chance at Roubaix. Would love to see him give everything to win those! But as mentioned, the money is mostly in GT’s these days, more’s the pity in a way…

  • David Bassett

    I see were you are coming from but is it not good that Sky are giving Garaint a chance. He is so important to Sky in the early season classics, but he is being able to follow his dream. I am glad that he has not thought he should do the same as Porte and leave (I think a big mistake in so many ways). Movistar think they should have a two ponged attack, so once again good on Sky. And I hope Garaint has his chance.

  • J1

    I don’t see it happening anyway, too many stronger contenders.

  • Jay

    Really like to see him win a GT as I reckon he is the best domestique out of the whole Sky Team. He’s probably the next strongest rider after Froome but unfortunately, I think he doesn’t have a climber’s physique, which IMHO thinks he is better suited for an all round Classics rider.

  • David Bassett

    Why shouldn’t it work.
    Well done Sky for giving him the chance. He has worked his but off and deservers the chance to have a go. Any team would love the opportunity to have two riders of that ability going for it.

  • blemcooper

    From interviews I’ve read, he doesn’t think he needs to climb with the best, at least in terms of following attacks, but doing it Wiggins/Ullrich style by going steady, limiting losses and gaining elsewhere, e.g. TTs, cobbles, crosswinds, etc. Seems to me that with the right course and a bit of luck, he’s got a good shot (but then you can say that about a few other riders :-).

  • CanSomeoneTellMe

    Wiggo and Froomey finished One-Two in the 2012 Tour as everyone knows, so it is not impossible that Team SKY could do it again with Froomey and the G-Man. I would love to see it happen.

  • J1

    “Team principal, David Brailsford told Cycling Weekly that Thomas will a protected leader alongside Froome if all goes to plan.”

    Yeah, that’ll work.

  • Patrick Murphy

    I’d like to know what he thinks about his race plan. If you want to win either a classic or a GT then surely these days you have to put all your eggs in one basket and target one or the other. Problem is he has a Chris Froome shaped object in front of him for the tour, i’d say it was unusual for another rider in the same team to be in contention (along with the team leader) for so long. Maybe Sky were finally realising a plan B, or plan G in this case was needed and could be initiated.

  • Aurelio

    Agreed. Nowadays it seems that it is all about the Tour and a rider like him could win Classics like Paris-Roubaix or Tour of Flanders but if he is looking to win the Tour de France he would have to change and I don´t see him climbing with the best, but maybe I am wrong.

  • markholds

    I can understand him, but I think it’s a pity really. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see Thomas winning a Grand Tour, and anyway, I find the Classics so much more interesting than Grand Tours. I would prefer to see him concentrating on week-long stage races and the Classics. Whatever they say, I think the Sky cobbled classics squad will be a lot weaker without him.
    It’s just a shame that all the media attention goes on the Grand Tours.