Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome set for dual Tour de France tilt

Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal believes both current and former Tour de France winner's will line up in Brussels in 2019, with Egan Bernal set to lead at the Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome are set to line up once again as co-leaders at next year's Tour de France, with 21-year old Egan Bernal likely to take a leadership role at the Giro d'Italia.

Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal revealed that Thomas and Team Sky coach Tim Kerrison are yet to finalise the Welshman's training schedule for 2019, but believes that could well be the likeliest strategy for the defending Tour de France champion.

"I believe G will want to start the Tour in the best shape possible and the same for Froomey obviously," Portal said.

"I’m not sure if G would like to try the Giro or Froomey, but I get the feeling Froomey will really focus again on the Tour. I just saw G looking at the Tour presentation and he looked focused on that as well."

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This means that Team Sky's latest star Bernal will be given the opportunity to lead the British outfit when the Giro starts in Bologna next May,

"For me it would be fine for Egan to do the Giro, as it is quite a good Giro [route] for him, and then ride the Tour to support G and Froomey."

"I think he needs to ride the Tour [as well], because he is so mature for his age that it would be a shame for him not to ride it. Physically he has the level and I think riding it with these two guys he is going to learn so much."

Portal described last year's Tour de France as somewhat stressful. Despite having the luxury of two potential winners in the same team, ensuring that they were able to juggle the ambitions of both riders without being overall detrimental to the team, was tricky to negotiate.

"This year was quite tense to make sure we could help both options, with Froome and G. At the end of the day we want the team to win and what we didn’t want was the two to race against each other and lose the lead."

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However Portal would much rather have the dilemma than not have a plethora of Grand Tour winners at his disposal.

"For me I see the situation as an advantage, because we have done it already with Chris and G. Maybe next year we’ll be in the same situation or the other way around. But its not going to be easy that’s for sure."

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Paul Knott is a fitness and features writer, who has also presented Cycling Weekly videos as well as contributing to the print magazine as well as online articles.  In 2020 he published his first book, The Official Tour de France Road Cycling Training Guide (Welbeck), a guide designed to help readers improve their cycling performance via cherrypicking from the strategies adopted by the pros.