Racing the 2019 Tour de France with Chris Froome “can work” if done with “honesty”, says 2018 winner and team-mate Geraint Thomas.
Thomas wants to approach the 2019 edition as he and Team Sky did in 2018, which should see the two captains working in harmony this July 6 to 28. He is due to return to the Tour as defending champion with Froome, a four-time winner, racing alongside him.
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“I don’t look at it that way,” Thomas told Spanish website AS when asked about any potential conflicts.
“Chris is probably one of the best cyclists for three-week races. He’s collected six so far, and I have no doubt that he wants to get a fifth Tour.
“If we face it as we did last July, with honesty and not racing against each other, but united, it can work.”
If Froome wins his fifth Tour, he will match the record held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. Thomas decided to not race the Giro d’Italia in May, “even if it looks like a risky move,” to go “all in” for the Tour.
Already last July, doubts about the two’s ability to work for each other existed. However, they showed on the road their willingness to work for a Team Sky win.
Froome rode for Thomas after he conquered the two Alpine summit finishes, including the stage to the Alpe d’Huez ski resort in the yellow jersey. He went on to finish third overall.
“Very good, honestly,” Thomas said of their relationship. “The media runs with the rumours, taking out the news and just speculates with stories that don’t match reality. I understand that you have to publish and sell, but for the record, Froome and I will have dinner together, a drink, and we laugh when we meet in Monaco.”
Thomas began his season with a 13th place in the short 10.3km time trial at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. He is working in the Spanish race for his team-mates David De La Cruz and Diego Rosa.
David Brailsford, team boss, is searching for a new backer for 2020 and beyond while they race. After 10 years, Sky media group will end its sponsorship of £34 million a year.
“Worried? Not so much,” Thomas said.
“I have a three-year contract and I hope that Brailsford will keep us all together, with another sponsor. This is like a second family.”
Before re-signing his contract last summer, Thomas had been linked to BMC Racing or what is now Team CCC.
“The structure is the most interesting looking beyond Sky,” Thomas said. “If I was six or seven years younger, maybe I would have accepted.”