Etixx-QuickStep’s boss Patrick Lefevere is “curious” to see how Geraint Thomas (Sky) will race tomorrow in Belgium’s Tour of Flanders classic on Sunday after the Welshman switched focus to stage racing.
Thomas’s only one-day race so far in 2016 was the Milan-San Remo two weeks ago, when he crashed ahead of the closing climbs. His focus is on arriving to the Tour de France to support Chris Froome and to see how high he can ride in the classification.
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“I’m curious. It’s a bit of a strange preparation for Flanders,” Lefevere told Cycling Weekly.
“On the other hand, I remember the old times when some riders did Flanders, País Vasco and then came back for Paris-Roubaix. People want to smell the pavé, though, they want to know the stress of these races.
“It’s difficult to do it, but we saw it in the past with Laurent Jalabert. In the time of Johan Museeuw, Jalabert was maybe the best one-day racer in the world. Fortunately, for us, Manolo Saiz convinced him to do stage races. It’s possible, but you have to sacrifice a lot, like the classics. I’m going to be looking to see how it works for Thomas.”
Thomas will lead Sky’s Flanders team alongside Michal Kwiatkowski, who won the E3 Harelbeke last Friday. Afterwards, he may race the Liège-Bastogne-Liège monument before returning focus to the stage races.
Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France for Sky in 2012. Last year, he led the team in Paris-Roubaix before leaving top-level road cycling behind for the track.
Watch: Tour of Flanders essential guide
“It’s different than Wiggins,” Lefevere said. “Wiggins did two things. He came to the classics, became a stage racer and then came back to racing the classics. He didn’t do one one week and another the next week. But there is only one Wiggins.
“Of course, they are free to experiment. You remember that one time that Sky didn’t do the early classic races and they went to Tenerife? I prayed to god that they wouldn’t get results because otherwise everyone would be going to Teide and there’d be a traffic problem, and I’d have to start to send my classics team there.”