Cycling

Geraint Thomas opts to return to Giro d’Italia in 2023 due to ‘disappointing’ Tour de France route

2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has confirmed he will miss next year’s edition of the Grande Boucle, citing the “extreme” lack of time trials on the 2023 Tour route as one of the key factors behind his decision. .

Despite finishing an impressive third in the Tour this year, Ineos Grenadiers rider Thomas says he will focus on returning to the Giro d’Italia in 2023, where the Welshman has unfinished business after two freak accidents ruined his career. previous general offers in the Cora Rosa. .

The 2023 Giro, in particular, also features three individual time trials totaling 71 kilometres, as race organizers RCS Sport appear determined to court world champion, Vuelta a España winner and accomplished time trialist Remco Evenepoel, whose only Previous Giro appearance in 2021 marked what was a long-awaited but ultimately spotty and ill-fated return to the peloton after a lengthy injury layoff.

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Meanwhile, next year’s Tour, the route of which was revealed in Paris at the end of October, is clearly one for the pure climbers, with a mountainous 22km time trial last week in the Alps the only bone tossed by organizers ASO. to the most voluminous rulers. like Thomas.

Speaking to Cyclingnews at the ASO-organized Saitama Criterium in Japan, where he ‘ran’ to third place behind Jasper Philipsen and 2022 Tour winner Jonas Vingegaard today, Thomas expressed disappointment at the lack of time trial action next July.

“I’m not quite sure why they’ve done that,” he said. “When I did my first Tour in 2007, well it was a long time ago, I had two time trials over 50km, so it’s quite extreme to go the other way around.

“Those TT days are also great iconic stages. This year there were only three big sprints, which are also iconic stages. Maybe they’re just trying to mix it up completely. I find it disappointing there is no more [time trialling].”

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However, Thomas, who has occupied every step of the Tour de France podium during his career, also suggested he planned to travel to Italy in May 2023, regardless of next year’s grand tour routes.

And while he doesn’t say whether he will aim for the final pink jersey in Rome, the 36-year-old Welshman certainly has unfinished business at the Giro, where his two previous GC bids in 2017 and 2020 were abruptly cut short by freak accidents involving race bikes. and lost water bottles.

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“That’s what I was thinking anyway,” Thomas said when asked if the grand Italian tour was in his diary the whole time. “The Giro is much less intense, just the atmosphere and everything. I would like to mount it another time.

“It’s a race I’ve always enjoyed, even if I’ve crashed the last two times I’ve done it. It would be nice to go back and finish it. there is a bit of [what might have been]. In 2020 I felt in very good shape. Even the one before with the bike parked on the road… I really would have loved to see how he would have done it.

“The way I treat him would be to come to the Giro as best he can. Whether I end up going in stages or riding GC, that’s a different matter. But I would very much like to do the Giro.

“It will be similar to this year’s Tour – just come in top shape and go from there.”

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