Some experts, notably Sir Bradley Wiggins, claimed that Thomas’ presence in France would have “changed the whole dynamic of the team”, arguing that even if the 2018 winner himself had not been at the end of the race himself, he could have helped relieve Bernal of some pressure.
But Thomas, speaking ahead of Friday’s 31.7km time trial at Imola, declined to criticize Ineos manager Sir Dave Brailsford, insisting the decision was joint between them and adding that this had given him “a new boost”, with his sights now firmly set on the Giro d’Italia which starts in Sicily one week on Saturday.
“It’s not about proving anything to anyone,” he said. ” He [the Tour] was a decision Dave and I made together after the Criterium du Dauphine. It also gave me new life.
“To be honest I was done [the Tour] fast enough. The initial disappointment was more that this was just the first time I missed my goal for the year. I knew I was not in shape to fight for the win, that was the disappointing thing.
“But I could have an easy week, go back to Cardiff and see my son and die for a few days, then go back and go up to the Giro.
“As soon as I came back to Monaco and started the whole Giro project, I was motivated and ready to go. It gave me new momentum.
Thomas has since rediscovered some form, finishing second ahead of fellow Briton Simon Yates [Mitchelton-Scott] in Tirreno-Adriatico a few weeks ago.
“I think I was a little lighter,” he replied when asked what had changed between the Dauphine and the Tirreno-Adriatico. “After the Dauphine, I really adopted a sort of strict diet. I worked with the nutritionist. The team would tell me how much pasta, protein, and vegetables I needed. I was just doing long, easy trips. Six, seven hour walks. It helped shift the weight a bit and it really made the biggest difference. The power was correct in the Dauphine, I was just a little heavy at the start. ”
He added, “When you’re not really doing great, mentally, you’re not quite there. Come Tirreno, I went there as a leader and felt better on the bike and suddenly rather than in a downward spiral you are riding the crest of a wave.
Thomas, one of the world’s strongest time trial runners, said he hoped to be “there or around” in Friday’s 31.7km time trial, on a “pan -plat ”in Imola.
“I would have liked a more hilly course ideally,” he says. ” [Italy’s] Filippo Ganna and [Australia’s defending champion] Rohan Dennis, of course I would say, are the favorites. But also [Holland’s] Tom Dumoulin and [Belgium’s] Wout Van Aert. Both of them had a great Tour, but they haven’t run to the finish line every day and I think they’ll probably do well.
Thomas also named Swiss time trial champion Stefan Kung and Belgian time record holder Victor Campanaerts as one to watch.
“Obviously, I will give everything I have and try to get the best possible result,” he concluded. “But yes, we’ll see. It’s strange because it’s the first TT I’ve done outside of a stage race… I’ve done nationals twice, maybe, and the Olympics once. It’s different but it will certainly help for the Giro too [where there are three individual time trial stages]. »