The Tour de France is just over a month away. Look, I know it is the last week of the Giro d'Italia, and we should all be concentrating on that, but the 36 days between now and stage one of the Tour will pass in a flash.
So it is not too wild to indulge in some lineup speculation. On Tuesday, Geraint Thomas tweeted (opens in new tab) a photo of the Ineos Grenadiers training squad from their camp in Tenerife.
Interestingly, there were eight riders in the photo, in their day-glo Ineos training kit. Funnily enough, there are also eight spots available in a Tour squad, so this might just match up.
Sat in the airport after another Tenerife camp. That’s at least 15 now, or close to 8 months spent on the volcano 👀 Time flies when you’re having fun n all that! 🤣 All roads lead to Le Tour 💪💪 pic.twitter.com/Rjjckqqy50May 24, 2022
The eight men in the photo are, left to right: Dylan van Baarle, Filippo Ganna, Luke Rowe, Thomas, Omar Fraile, Adam Yates, Carlos Rodríguez and Michał Kwiatkowski.
This sounds like a realistic lineup for the Tour, with Yates presumably the general classification leader, alongside Thomas possibly; climbing support in Fraile, Rodriguez and Kwiatkowski; and riders for the flatter parts in Ganna, Rowe and Van Baarle.
There are some Ineos Tour stalwarts in this team, with Rowe racing the last seven editions in a row for the team, acting as the team's road captain. Kwiatkowski and Van Baarle have ridden the last four and three, respectively, while Thomas has participated in 10 Tours for the team, formerly known as Team Sky.
The squad are missing their out-and-out GC leader in Egan Bernal, who is still recovering from the serious crash he was involved in in Colombia earlier this year, while Richard Carapaz is currently in the lead at the Giro. This leaves other options for the Tour, with Yates thought to be the next in line to lead the team, although obviously Thomas will be there as a former winner too.
There are other riders who are in the mix for a spot, most notably Dani Martínez, who has been heading up the team at some races so far this year; the Colombian won Itzulia Basque Country a few months ago.
He might well swap in for Rodríguez, with the young Spaniard not yet racing a Grand Tour. Despite his impressive start to the year, Ineos might want to introduce him to the highest level at a later date, potentially after racing the Vuelta a España instead.
Tao Geoghegan Hart, too, might think himself in with a shout for the Tour squad, with the 2020 Giro winner not racing in Italy currently.
All of this is speculation, obviously. Cycling Weekly reached out to the British team to ask them if the eight men in Thomas' photo were the Tour squad, and were told that the squad won't be decided for a few weeks yet.
It will certainly be interesting to see what Ineos do in July, with their GC options considered a level below two-time winner Tadej Pogačar and three-time Vuelta winner Primož Roglič. Will they attempt to attack more, or will they be hunting stage wins? 36 days until we find out.
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