Chris Froome goes into the race seeking a fifth Tour de France title and although Team Sky are yet to announce their full eight-rider roster Thomas is an obvious name for inclusion. The Welshman wore the yellow jersey after winning last year’s opening time trial and although he has crashed out of his last two Grand Tours, he has the ability to push for a high overall placing. Thomas' role, however, will almost certainly be determined by Froome’s performance. The defending champion comes into the Tour having won the Giro but history would suggest that he could, therefore, falter in July.
Thomas has been in top form in recent weeks. After a lukewarm Tour de Romandie he returned to form at the Dauphine in June and won the overall ahead of Adam Yates and Romain Bardet. In late June he won the British national time trial championships.
"The team have said that with the way I've been riding they're confident to give me that role of a backup guy and to race at least until the first rest day,” Thomas told the BBC.
"We'll go from there then and hopefully have two cards to play. I think the longer that both of us are up there it gives the team two options.”
The first week of the Tour de France is riddled with potential pitfalls, from the cross-winds along the west coastline to the tight twisty roads of the Vendee, and of course the cobbled stage to Roubaix on stage 9.
“The plan is to race up until the first rest day and try not to lose any time going into the Alps, and then I’m hopefully up there. Then hopefully we’ll have two cards to play. I’m really motivated and looking forward to it.”
“Froome has won six Grand Tours and the Tour four times so for sure he’s going to have that leadership role. He’s had a different approach to it this year, obviously riding the Giro, so it’s a bit of an unknown as to how he’s going to be but I’ve definitely got that chance, which I’m really relishing.”
Along with Froome’s condition and form, the first week will be key for Thomas and his possible GC ambitions. The Welshman has the necessary skillset to survive the opening nine days having performed well in a number of the Spring Classics in the past. He admitted that the terrain and the conditions will be tough to master but that he is certainly looking forward to the challenge.
"It'll certainly be a tough first week. There'll be crosswinds, the team time trial, a few lumpy stages - which will be stressful - and obviously the cobbles.
"But I like that sort of racing so hopefully I can take advantage of that."