In what could be his final season as a professional cyclist, it looks like Geraint Thomas will not be heading to the Tour de France next summer. It was already very much under consideration, but a Tour route without much time trialling made the decision for him.
Instead, the Ineos Grenadiers rider has said that he would prefer to go to the Giro d'Italia, a race he has unfinished business with, with his last two appearances at the Italian Grand Tour ending in abandonments
This year he finished third at the Tour, the third time he has finished on the podium at the Grand Tour, after winning it in 2018 and finishing second in 2019. He also won the Tour de Suisse, and proved his worth to his Ineos team despite there being a plethora of general classification riders in the squad..
However, a return to France does not appeal to him, especially in light of the lack of time trialling; there will be just 22km against the clock next July, in a climbing-heavy Tour.
"I'm not too sure why they've done that," Thomas told Cyclingnews at the Tour de France Criterium in Saitama.
"When I did my first Tour in 2007 – OK, it was a long time ago – it had two TTs of 50km plus, so it's quite extreme to go the other way like that.
"Those TT days are big iconic stages as well. This year there were only three big bunch sprints, which are iconic stages as well. Maybe they're just trying to mix it up completely. I think it's disappointing there's not more [time trialling]."
It is the lowest amount of time trialling since 2015, and does not appeal to a rouleur like Thomas. The Giro route, meanwhile, has 70.6km of racing against the clock.
"That's what I was thinking anyway [going to the Giro]," Thomas said. "The Giro is a lot less intense - just the atmosphere and everything. I'd like to ride it another time."
"It's a race I've always enjoyed, even if I've crashed out the last two times I've done it. It would be nice to go back and finish it."
In 2017, Thomas was forced to withdraw from the Giro while he was challenging for GC after he crashed due to a poorly-parked police motorbike. In 2020, he crashed due to a stray bidon in the neutral zone ahead of stage three.
"There is a bit of ['what might have been']," he explained. "In 2020 I felt in really good shape. Even one before that with the motorbike parked on the road... I really would have loved to have seen how I'd have done."
However, despite being a senior rider and wanting to head to the Giro, Thomas refused to be drawn on whether he would be going for overall victory. It would likely see him battle against Remco Evenepoel, among others.
"How I treat it would just be to get to the Giro as best I can," he said. Whether that ends up being going for stages or riding GC, that's a different matter. But I'd really like to do the Giro.
"It'll be similar to the Tour this year – just get there in the best shape and go from there."
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