Both Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas will make a call after this week’s Tour of Britain over whether to keep racing until the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck in the final week of September, but speaking before the start of the British Tour in South Wales the two Team Sky leaders played down their chances of being on the start line.
Speaking at a press conference Saturday in Newport, Wales, Thomas as good as said he will not go to Innsbruck, although like Froome he was on the short list of riders released last week by British Cycling. He certainly does not view the next eight days as World’s preparation.
“Not really, no," Thomas said when asked about preparation for worlds. "Winning the Dauphine and the Tour doesn’t happen every day. I’ve enjoyed it, I’m not in the shape to try and win. We’ll see how this week goes and maybe if I’m in a shape to add something to the team.”
The Welshman expects a massive reception on Sunday when the Tour of Britain starts on his home roads in South Wales, but he says he has been too busy since winning the Tour de France to think about maintaining his form, although he “blew the cobwebs out” at last week’s Tour of Germany.
“Performance-wise, I’m not going to set the world alight," Thomas said. "I’ve not done much for the last month. I’ve been here there and everywhere because it’s not every day that you win the Tour. I’m knackered. I’ve been so busy since the Tour that I’ve not really recovered.”
Froome is also beginning to get that end-of-term feeling.
“I think I have pushed the envelope as far as I can go,” said Froome, who began racing at the Ruta del Sol in February, earlier than usual, to build up to the Giro d’Italia in mid-May. “I did take a bit of a break after the Tour. I took a good 10 days off the bike. I’ve been training well now for the last few weeks. It’s a case of seeing how the legs feel this week. If I feel I can get to good racing speed by the end of the week that will be fantastic in terms of the Worlds. I’ll be able to judge where I’m at by the end of the week, if it’s worth pushing on.”
Froome has no illusions about the severity of this year’s World’s route, having ridden part of it as he prepared for the Giro at the Tour of the Alps.
“We did laps on part of the race circuit and it’s definitely a brutal race, there is no two ways about it," Froome said. "There is over 5,000 metres of climbing, so unless you are in absolutely top condition I don’t think it’s a race where you can just hide in the wheels. It’s going to show exactly what form you are in.
“I think we will see how this week goes and maybe make a call after that, I’m definitely not in Tour shape now. I’m not here with massive aspirations, but we’ve got a good team and hopefully we’ll be in with a chance of the top step of the podium."