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It’s crowded at the top of Ineos these days. So many Tour de France winners, so few Tours de France to win.
Geraint Thomas, in an interview with the Guardian this week, admitted to harboring some frustration at his predicament — that of a Tour de France champion who may have to play second fiddle to two others.
“[Chris] Froome is the greatest Grand Tour rider of his generation, and [Egan] Bernal … to win a Tour at 22, he could have 10 or 12 years of being super-competitive,” Thomas said. “But at least I will always have that Tour win.”
Thomas finished second at this year’s Tour behind his Ineos teammate Bernal. It was a result he initially found disappointing, he said, but also unsurprising after an imperfect run-up to the Tour. Thomas didn’t win a race in 2019.
Ineos hasn’t laid out a calendar for its trio of Tour champions just yet. Bernal has expressed interest in racing the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, while Froome, returning from a horrific injury, will need until at least July to reach top form. Thomas, too, said he’s focused on returning to the Tour. “We need to confirm it all, to chat it through, but at the moment it’s all about the Tour again,” he said.
“You have to weigh up your position in the team and it’s about what motivates you,” he added. “There is no point going to the Giro just to be the leader and only being 95% motivated. You need to be all-in. I’d love to do the Giro [to win] one year, but next year what excites me is the Tour again.”
Aiming three former winners at the Tour will only fuel an inevitability: That Ineos will be questioned constantly about who, really, is the team’s leader.
“We will deal with it as we have done,” Thomas said. “When I won and Froome was third, when Egan won and I was second, the reason we both finished on the podium was that we were open and honest with each other. We pulled in the same direction, never chased each other down.”