Geraint Thomas believes that going into the 100th Giro d’Italia in a fortnight as Team Sky’s joint leader with Mikel Landa will benefit both riders when they take on race favourites Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana.
The Welshman says the Giro will ultimately make “a natural selection” when it comes to deciding which of them might ultimately challenge for the maglia rosa.
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“It’s great to go in with a couple of options. It takes pressure off both of us knowing that the other guy is there as well,” Thomas said after retaining his lead on the penultimate day at the Tour of the Alps.
“Hopefully, this year we can do a bit better than the last couple of years and at least finish.”
The Welshman also believes the Tour of the Alps has helped Sky’s Giro leaders form a good partnership within a six-man team that has looked an extremely strong unit throughout four days of hard racing.
“I guess at the Giro it will be similar to how it’s been here. We’ve both had our chances. When it comes to the final week it will be obvious which one of us is stronger. I think there will be a natural selection then,” he said.
Thomas admitted he has been keeping an eye on how Sky’s prospective Giro rivals have been performing, but insisted that he doesn’t obsess about this.
“At the end of the day, they’re going to be good and, for me, they’re going to be the two favourites for the title,” he said.
“I’ve not seen how Nibali is going at the Tour of Croatia, but he doesn’t really show too much in a lot of the races before Grand Tours.
“I’m sure, though, he’ll be phenomenal in that last week, so I don’t try to read too much into that and just try to focus on myself. I just want to get there in the best shape I can and then race in the best way that I can.”
Asked whether he is concerned about bad weather derailing his Giro challenge as it did the hopes of Bradley Wiggins in 2013, Thomas responded: “I don’t necessarily enjoy bad weather, but I don’t really mind it.
“I grew up in Wales and, I don’t know if you’ve been there, it rains all the time. I’m a totally different rider to Brad. I just get stuck in, give 100% every day and hopefully that will get me a decent result.”
Thomas agreed that this year’s Giro field is shaping up as one of the best of recent years, despite the injury-enforced absence of former winner Fabio Aru. “There’s lots of strength in depth,” he acknowledged.
“I also saw today that Simon Yates has switched to the Tour, but it’s still an extremely strong field. I’m really looking forward to it now. I’m looking forward to going home on Friday, having a nice week at home and then away we go…”