Being left out of the Tour de France team of the Ineos Grenadeirs team was the best remedy for Geraint Thomas.
At least that’s how Thomas sees this controversial decision as he prepares to lead the hopes of Inos’ GC at the Giro d’Italia.
Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France champion, said team manager David Brailsford’s decision to leave him at home for the Tour breathed new life into his 2020 season.
“The [the Tour] was a decision Dave and I made together after the Critérium du Dauphiné, ”said Thomas. “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.
Thomas spoke to reporters on a video conference ahead of Friday’s UCI world championship time trial in Imola, Italy. Thomas races the World ITT alongside compatriot Alex Dowsett, and he is the 37th driver to leave home.
Thomas said he would have preferred a more hilly course – Friday’s route is almost flat. He named defending champion Rohan Dennis of Australia and TT ace Filippo Ganna of Italy as the two favorites on the road.
“Filippo Ganna and Rohan Dennis, for sure, I would say, are the favorites,” said Thomas. “But also Tom Dumoulin and 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 spoke at length about his non-selection for the Tour de France and how he bounced back from the setback.
The decision to leave Thomas and Chris Froome of the Tour de France Ineos team came after both men had poor performances at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and the decision shattered pre-Tour plans. Ineos for a three-pronged attack on the GC with Froome. , Thomas and Egan Bernal. Thomas’ exclusion has been criticized by journalists and cycling experts – including former teammate Bradley Wiggins of UK channel Eurosport – after Ineos failed early in the race.
Bernal couldn’t match the pace of the climb of Primož Roglič and eventual winner Tadej Pogačar, and he finally abandoned the race before Stage 17, two stages after being abandoned for good on the slopes of the Grand Colombier . After Bernal’s retirement, Ineos chased stage victories.
Thomas, 34, said he returned home to Cardiff, Wales to spend time with his wife and new son before starting his preparation for the Giro. He went to his second home in Monaco and started a new training and diet plan for Italian racing.
“As soon as I got back to Monaco and started the whole Giro project, I was motivated and ready to go,” said Thomas. “It gave me new momentum.”
Thomas said he worked with a team nutritionist to adjust his diet as he traveled long miles in the south of France. His training program focused on long, easy hikes.
At the beginning of September, Thomas raced Tirreno-Adriatico and seemed in better shape. He finished third in three different stages, then placed second overall, just 17 seconds behind overall winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
Thomas credited the workout regimen for getting him back into shape.
“I think I was a little lighter,” Thomas said. “After the Dauphiné, I adopted a sort of very strict diet. I worked with the nutritionist. The team told me how much pasta, protein and veg should have. I was just doing long, easy trips; six [to] seven hour walks. It helped shift the weight a bit and it really made the biggest difference. Power was okay in the Dauphine, I was just running a bit heavy at the start.