Team Sky's Geraint Thomas says that as long as he or Chris Froome wins the 2019 Tour de France, the leadership role is irrelevant.
The Welshman is racing Strade Bianche on Saturday (March 9), building up for the Tour de France in July.
"We'll just treat it like we did last year as well," Thomas told Cycling Weekly in Siena. "Just be open and honest with each other. As long as one of wins, that's the goal.
"If we end up racing against each other and someone else won, when one of us could have won, that would have been a disaster."
Thomas confirmed this morning that he will not race the Giro d'Italia contrary to recent rumours. After Tirreno-Adriatico, he returns to Tenerife for altitude training, then races the Tour of the Basque Country, the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse.
"I was thinking about it. I really like racing in Italy and was really thinking about coming back, but it just didn't fit," Thomas continued.
"I wanted to just target the Tour 100 per cent because being the reigning champ... maybe if I was second or third last year, I might have done the Giro this year, but I just wanted to go [to the Tour] 100 per cent."
Thomas has raced the Monuments, but never over the white gravel roads around Siena. He lined up for Strade Bianche with a strong team including Gianni Moscon and Owain Doull.
"I've never done this race, but always when I watch it at home I'd kind of wished I was racing, other than last year maybe," Thomas said, referring to the cold and mud of 2018.
"It's just an iconic race already, even after just over 10 editions. I'm looking forward to it. It's totally different."
"Doull crashed yesterday beside me in training which wasn't isn't great for the morale. I'm fine, I didn't come down. He did. It just shows anything can happen in this race even in the recon. Hopefully it'll be all good. Fingers crossed."
Thomas so far this season has only raced in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, finishing 44th. Strade Bianche marks only his second race of the 2019 season.
"I'm looking forward to it," he explained. "I'm still on the nice progression up, so I feel a lot better than Valencia, but at the same time I don't feel ready to win, but you never know in a race like this."
In 2015 Thomas won the E3 Harelbeke Classic and he placed top-10 in both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Now, he is focused on stage races but is not ruling out a return to the classics.
"I'd love to go back to the classics maybe in three years' time or something like that, but it's all about stage racing at the moment."
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