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Was it the right decision for Ineos Grenadiers to overlook Geraint Thomas?

by Staff reporter
07 Sep 2020 at 12:39hrs | Views
It seems like yesterday that Geraint Thomas was rubbing his eyes in disbelief that he had just won the Tour de France. The Welshman produced the performance of his life over the three weeks to win the yellow jersey and knock his teammate Chris Froome off his perch.

"When I rode on the Champs-Elysees for the first time in 2007, that was insane - just to finish the race and just to be a part of it," Thomas said afterwards. "To now be riding round winning it is just incredible. It's just a whirlwind. I seem to be floating around on cloud nine. Maybe when I'm 70, sat in a corner of a pub telling some 18-year-old what I used to be, it will sink in. It's incredible, the stuff of dreams."

You could understand Thomas' elation. After all, to win the Tour de France is the ultimate goal for any road cyclist, and it is the truest test of a cyclist's talent and mettle. To win is to join the list of elite names who have tasted that sweet victory in Paris, and to take comfort from the fact that you can hold your head high no matter what comes next.

With the 2020 Tour de France well underway, Thomas may be wondering what comes next after he was left out of the Ineos Grenadiers team, just two years after winning the race. The world of cycling can be a cutthroat one, and Thomas has found this out the hard way after being cut adrift from the race that made his dreams come true.

The reality is that in Egan Bernal, Ineos have a young talented rider who looks as though he has the potential to dominate the sport for years to come. The Colombian won the Tour de France last year, and once again he is among the favourites in the odds on Tour de France winners, meaning that Ineos are putting all their eggs in that particular basket.

But in leaving Thomas out, the jury is still out on whether or not that constitutes a mistake by general manager Sir Dave Brailsford and his team. Thomas is a rider of immense experience, and is a rare example of a cyclist who has achieved success in both road and track cycling. To neglect that experience and focus on youth is a high-risk strategy, but Brailsford and his team have not achieved such success without taking a few gambles along the way. The plan is for Thomas to lead the team at the Giro D'Italia later this year, but you can bet that the Welshman will be bitterly disappointed to play no part in France.

"Geraint's won the Tour, finished second at the Tour, this guy needs a big chance, a big platform, so we've decided to give Geraint the opportunity of focusing and going for the Giro," Brailsford explained.

"A Welshman's never won the Giro. It's a big race. He's won the Tour and if he could double that up with the Tour it would be terrific. Three time trials, the mountains suit him, so it's a pretty good Grand Tour for him."

Brailsford is placing all his trust in Bernal and teammate Richard Carapaz to deliver a result in France, but leaving out both Thomas and Froome is a decision that many have questioned. If Bernal goes on to win the Tour again, the general manager's decision will be justified, but if Ineos are to lose out this year, the inquest will soon begin.

Source - dailynews