Geraint Thomas to lead Ineos Grenadiers at 2023 Vuelta a España

Welshman joins Vuelta debutants Filippo Ganna and and Kim Heiduk in British team's line-up

Geraint Thomas waving to the crowd
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas will lead Ineos Grenadiers’ general classification bid at this year’s Vuelta a España, the team has confirmed. 

The Welshman, who came second at the Giro d’Italia in May, will join team-mates Thymen Arensman, Egan Bernal, Jonathan Castroviejo, Laurens de Plus, Omar Fraile, Filippo Ganna and Kim Heiduk on the start line in Barcelona next Saturday 26 August. 

It will be just the second time in the 37-year-old’s career that he has ridden the Vuelta. His debut in the Spanish Grand Tour came in 2015, when he came 69th. 

Speaking to the media, including Cycling Weekly, at the Glasgow World Championships, Thomas said he is looking forward to a “hard race” in Spain. 

“We’ll see once we’re in it,” he said. “The Vuelta’s such a hard race this year. There’s something most days really, and a super hard backend to the race as well.” 

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The route for this year’s Vuelta counts nine summit finishes - notably a finale on the Col du Tourmalet on stage 13 - and just three stages billed for the sprinters. There is also a team time trial and an individual race against the clock. 

In his pursuit of the red jersey, Thomas will go up against the reigning champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step), Spanish talents Enric Mas (Movistar) and Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), and Jumbo-Visma duo Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič, who he lost out to at the Giro

“I was super happy to have just been in the position to win,” the Welshman said of his second place in Italy. “Obviously getting so close on the last day made it hard to take, but at the same time, I was happy with how I managed to get into that position.” 

Following the Giro, Thomas took two weeks off the bike to recover. “I let my hair down a bit, just ate and drank whatever,” he said. “I drank quite a bit to be fair. But it was a nice break with my family.

“Then I tried to slowly get back into it. I spent a bit of time up in Andorra at altitude with the team. It’s the best way for me to sort of focus really. I had like three months or so up there.” 

In a press release shared on Friday by Ineos Grenadiers, Thomas said he is aiming for "the best result possible for the team" in Spain, and will target stage wins as well as the GC. 

The 2023 Vuelta a España begins in Barcelona on 26 August, and finishes in Madrid on 17 September. 

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