Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) has confirmed to Cyclingnews that the Giro d'Italia is not on his race programme. The confirmation comes after bike brand Pinarello announced that the 2018 Tour de France winner would take part in the Italian Grand Tour.
Pinarello has a long, rich history in the sport, and have supported Team Sky since the British team's inception in 2010. At the CoBismoBikeShow in Italy, Fausto Pinarello told onlookers and La Gazzetta dello Sport that Thomas would line up at the Giro alongside teammates Egan Bernal and Gianni Moscon.
However, on Sunday morning, with Cyclingnews contacting Thomas for a comment, the Welshman insisted that the race was not part of his plans. He will, as he has stated for the last few months, return to the Tour de France in July to defend his crown. Bernal will lead Team Sky at the Giro.
Currently training in Tenerife after making his season debut at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana earlier this month, Thomas said: "Yeah, I'm not doing it," in a brief but clear message relating to the Giro.
Pinarello had been quoted by Gazzetta as saying: "We have the list of athletes and he is there, together with Bernal and Moscon. The team is strong, wants to win. The road will decide who of the three will have the most chance."
It's not clear if this 'list' refers to a long-list that Team Sky may have provided to the Giro d'Italia organisers RCS well ahead of the race. Long-lists often change before races with anywhere between nine and fifteen riders potentially listed for a race at the start of the year.
However, part of the speculation surrounding Thomas' Grand Tour plans stems from the fact that Team Sky have at times been coy on the Welshman's race schedule. In late January Dave Brailsford told the press that a decision on race plans had yet to be finalised. This month Thomas also said he needed to talk to Brailsford about his race plans. On Sunday Brailsford, who is attending the Tour Colombia 2.1 told Cycilngnews that the chances of Thomas doing the Giro d'Italia were "highly unlikely".
Ahead of Valenciana, Thomas told the BBC: "I did not want to jeopardise the chances of the Tour for anything this year. As defending champion I feel as if I have to go back and want to be in the best shape possible."
At the same time Chris Froome, a veteran when it comes to understanding how the press can pick up on soundbites and potential headlines, told Il Corriere della Sera that the 2019 Giro d'Italia route was 'perfect' for Thomas.
"Geraint has a score to settle after the incident that cost him the maglia rosa two years ago. And the route is perfect for him. Sky, we always ride for the team. Last year, Geraint's victory at the Tour made me really happy."
Froome is looking to claim his fifth Tour de France title after winning the race in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. In 2018 he won the Giro d'Italia and finished third at the Tour de France.