Geraint Thomas wants to target second consecutive Tour de France title in 2019

Welshman prefers to skip Giro d'Italia

Geraint Thomas has hinted he would prefer to target a second consecutive Tour de France in 2019 rather than ride the Giro d'Italia, even if that would set up another leadership clash with team Chris Froome, who is keen to target a record-equalling fifth Tour de France victory.

Thomas was voted the BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year on Tuesday. He is back in training after long celebrating and savouring his Tour de France victory, and will soon head to Team Sky's first winter training camp in Mallorca where the British team is expected to discuss and decide their major goals and team leaders for 2019.

Froome won the 2018 Giro d'Italia but wants to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as a five-time Tour de France winner rather than defend his maglia rosa.

Thomas crashed out of the Giro d'Italia in 2017 but now wants to pursue a second yellow jersey at the Tour de France.

"I definitely feel there's unfinished business there [at the Giro d'Italia] but next year might be the wrong time," Thomas told BBC Wales.

"Being there [at the Tour] with number one on my back, it would be a shame to know I wouldn't be at my best, so I'm definitely leaning more towards that.

"But I just need to sit down with Tim [Kerrison - Team Sky coach] over the next few weeks and nail down a plan."

That desire could put him on a collision course with Froome for leadership at Team Sky next July, but like this year, Thomas is convinced the two can find a gentleman's agreement that means the road and the racing will decide who perhaps pulls on the yellow jersey in Paris next July. Thomas seems to fancy his chances after proving his Grand Tour ability this year.

"I'm not sure but if we both wanted to go to the Tour 100%, as long as we both ride like we did this year, we can both do really well," Thomas said.

"As long as we don't race against each other, we both have our ambitions and that works well in training because we both push each other.

"Obviously Froomey wants to go back to the Tour and win his fifth, which would be a record.”

Thomas finally got back into training after the Shanghai Tour de France criterium and a promotional tour in Britain to promote his book. Back in the south of France, Thomas has posted several photographs of training rides with Team Sky teammates and other riders based in the area.

BBC Wales suggested Thomas will head to Los Angeles over the New Year for a personal training camp before returning to Wales for a special public event on stage in Cardiff called "Geraint Thomas: Welsh Legend."

He is expected to make his race debut in February, perhaps with an intense block of early racing to get back up to speed. "I've been back training two weeks now and I'm starting to feel like a bike rider again," Thomas said.

"The first week was tough going but it's nice to be back in one place, a bit of routine and back on the regime with the diet. I'm about three weeks behind everyone at the moment so it's a bit of a grind but I'm sure we'll get there."

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