Geraint Thomas defying Tour de France odds: ‘I wasn’t the team leader when I won

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Geraint Thomas says it’s not impossible he could win July’s Tour de France, although Ineos Grenadiers have recently made it clear they won’t choose him as their leader.

The 2018 winner has won just twice since his triumph four years ago, and the British team are set to head to the Tour with Adam Yates and Dani Martínez as co-leaders as they seek to dethrone the champion in title Tadej Pogacar.

Ineos deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth said two weeks ago that Thomas would be “very happy to play a supporting role”, and while the Welshman is ready to do just that, he is not neglecting not his own chances.

“Obviously Dani and Yatesy are the two leaders going there and I will do my part to help them,” the 35-year-old said. weekly cycling in the Tour of the Basque Country.

“So many things can happen – when I won the Tour I wasn’t the team manager, so for me it’s just about getting there in the best shape, and once I “I’ll be there, I’ll work hard, stick together as a unit and as a team, and go from there. Normally whoever is stronger will rise to the top anyway.”

Thomas finished fourth in the first stage of the Basque Country and will participate in the Ardennes Classics before the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse in preparation for what will probably be his 12th participation in the Tour.

When asked if he had to change his approach to ride more as a super-domestic, he replied: “Of course, certainly in some races, but I also want my own opportunities.

“I’m happy to ride for others when I know they have a better chance – that’s obvious. But at the same time, I still have that confidence, that belief, that I can still do it.”

Can he still win bike races? “Yes, of course, and I hope I will.”

Although pleased with his performance against the clock in the first stage of the Basque Country, he added that it was still too early in the season for him to compete for GC honours.

“It was good for the confidence and I feel like I still have a lot of room to manoeuvre, which is encouraging. It’s nice to be back in the thick of it,” he said. he declares.

“But I think once we get into the stages I will definitely go back. It was a very slow winter, with nine weeks off cycling in total with my shoulder surgery and then Covid It was not an ideal winter and it was a slower start than I wanted.

“But that’s how it is – just adapt it. I really feel like I’m on the rise, and this race is a key part of working hard, staying stuck and using it to move forward.”

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