These days, performance data is crucial in determining how a runner reacts to the stress of competition, so Ineos will have had confirmation of where Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome sat with their form. This will go beyond the visual information provided by the Critérium de Dauphiné – that neither was stellar nor seemed to improve over the days.
In Chris Froome’s case, it was understandable enough that he might struggle to return to competition. His recovery after his accident at the Dauphiné 2019 was remarkable, but do not underestimate the time needed to return to the highest level and the effect of this age on the duration.
At this year’s Dauphiné he was present until the end of the first few days, although he paid for that initial flash of form and was later destined to be on the bus. While it has always been a possibility, it is a situation that no former Grand Tour winner is used to and it is not a good thing to experience or witness.
So it wasn’t a big surprise that he didn’t make the Tour selection as his climbing power still needs to be improved and he’s not the type of rider you can ask to go 100km per hour. ‘before every day, every day. He’s a winner and it’s not in their psyche to do that.
Geraint Thomas is a different case and his non-selection is more of a shock but again his recent performances have not been good enough. It’s strange because the Welshman has no excuse for his lack of form and he will be the first to admit it.
The late start to the season gave everyone who weren’t injured or ill to prepare for the race with plenty of time. That the standard is high shouldn’t come as a surprise as each driver has only three months to prove himself.
Right now, there isn’t the usual year-end lethargy that you would normally have after the Tour de France – basically everyone is fresh, eager to go and not the least bit tired of the previous races as he would. has been. The number of accidents is a testament to everyone’s nervousness and the fact that all runners are aware that they are unlikely to show up.
That Geraint Thomas can refocus on the Giro d’Italia is compensation, but he will be bitterly disappointed not to have been deemed good enough to support Bernal in a Tour where he could legitimately have been a strong support in the event of something. do not go.
Looking through the Ineos Tour de France team, Dave Brailsford took into account that he needs everyone behind Egan Bernal. With Jumbo-Visma setting a very high standard so far, all of those Ineos pilots had to be 100% right from the start.
Unfortunately for Thomas, he hasn’t shown any signs of this level, and Chris Froome needs more recovery time to achieve this kind of form. There is no room for feelings or friendships when tough calls need to be made, and this tour is no exception.
It’s one of the worst things as a pro to watch the biggest race on the calendar start without you. Chris Froome has some experience with the feelings involved after his crash last year, but for Geraint Thomas, it’s something new to deal with after being a staple of Sky and Ineos for so long.
The realization that the peloton is constantly renewing itself, that ultimately you are replaceable and that if you are not constantly there someone else is, can be just the shock needed to focus over the rest of the season.
When you’re an unsuccessful candidate for selection, it’s a long time sitting at home thinking about what could have been, and that applies to those who expected to be on the Tour and to those who hoped that they would be.