Team Sky’s bike supplier and famous Italian brand Pinarello says Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas will race the 2019 Giro d’Italia.
Thomas and the team have said otherwise recently despite this and other reports, with the Welshman denying the claims to CyclingNews over the weekend.
“Mister G, as they call him in the team will do the Giro d’Italia. He’s in the list of starters, we have the list, and Mister G is in it,” Pinarello boss Fausto Pinarello told La Gazzetta dello Sport over the weekend.”
The super-team already said it would send Italian star Gianni Moscon and upcoming 22-year-old Colombian Egan Bernal to the Italian grand tour this May 11 to June 2.
Last year, Chris Froome won the race, becoming the first Brit to do so and added the title to a palmarès with four Tour titles.
For 2019, Froome made it clear that he will aim to join the greats with five Tour de France titles and skip the Giro beforehand. However, rumours have surfaced his Welsh team-mate could race prior to defending his Tour title.
“We will have a strong team with Egan Bernal, new Colombian, and our Gianni Moscon,” added Pinarello. “So with Thomas, Bernal and Moscon, the road will decide which of the three is the strongest.”
It followed speculation in January about Thomas’s participation, which would be his first since crashing in the 2015 race. La Gazzetta dello Sport, which is under the same RCS Sport ownership as the historical Grand Tour, said Thomas and the team were considering it.
Pinarello could have possibly been referring to a long list of riders the organiser has in advance from teams. Still over two months away, even Team Sky would not have finalised its eight-man roster yet.
One source close to the team told Cycling Weekly, though, that Thomas would race but just for race training ahead of the Tour.
The race includes three individual time trials and plenty of climbing. “The route is perfect for him,” Froome told the Corriere della Sera last month. “Geraint has a score to settle after the incident that cost him the maglia rosa two years ago.”
Race boss Mauro Vegni agreed in an article with Cycling Weekly that “it suits” Thomas. He added, “And then also you have to consider that when a rider puts everything on one event and it doesn’t work out that he throws away the whole season.”
The team have shot down any rumours. Thomas debuted in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana earlier in February where he told the BBC: “The Giro feels like unfinished business and I wanted to think about that. Maybe I’ll race it next year, but this year has always been about the Tour.”
Thomas had not replied when asked for comment on Pinarello’s remark prior to this article’s publication.