Geraint Thomas has said that he will be heading to this year's Tour de France with a very similar game plan to 2018, where both he and Chris Froome started as co-leaders for Team Sky in the hunt for the overall victory.
Asked by Cyclingnews how he and Froome would plan to work things out in the race, Thomas said, "It'll be like this year  in a way. Obviously, this year Froomey was ahead of me in the pecking order, I guess, but we didn't ride any differently. So now I've proven I can do it [win the Tour], it makes no difference really, if we still do the same thing and ride the same way and hopefully one of us can still win."
Asked about reports published earlier this week that Thomas would not be doing the Giro d'Italia, Thomas said it was a near-certainty, but had yet to be officially confirmed, saying it was 95 per cent sure he would not do the Giro.
"I said I'm 100 per cent for the Tour, because I don't want to jeopardize that in any way.
"I've still got to speak to Dave [Brailsford], but I'm pretty certain that doing the whole Giro wouldn't be ideal preparation for the Tour.
"Having won [the Tour] last year, I want to go back, and I wouldn't want to go back less than 100 per cent, and I don't want to jeopardize that in any way."
Asked by Cyclingnews if the Giro d'Italia was therefore totally ruled out, Thomas replied, with a laugh, "No. But I'd say it's very likely I won't be there. It just needs an official, like, 'OK, that's what I'm doing.' In my head, I'm not going."
As for where he will be going next, Thomas said, "Tenerife. I need that block, just to really get going ahead, cos I haven't had any training-rest-routine at any point yet, so it'll be nice just to knuckle down and concentrate fully on riding my bike."
After a fortnight in the Canaries, he outlined a tentative race programme. "Maybe Strade [Bianche], definitely Tirreno[-Adriatico], go to Tenerife again, then [Pais Vasco] Basque, the Ardennes and Romandie. Maybe not all three Ardennes Classics, maybe Amstel, but definitely Liège.
"It'll be nice to go to Basque, I've never done that before. Though I was speaking to one guy today, I think Yatesy [Adam Yates] and he said it's the hardest race of the year, so that's put me off a little bit. But I'm sure it'll be good."
There will be no repeat of 2018, therefore, with Thomas 'parachuting in' for Paris-Roubaix. "No, I'm definitely going to go back another year. Just not this year. It's too hard to juggle everything I want to do; I want to ride everything. But it's not possible, or it is, but not possible to do very well."
As for his current race at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Thomas did some hard work towards the end of stage 2, helping keep Sky at the front end of affairs as the race closed in on Alicante.
"It was fast, that's for sure," Thomas said. "When Astana and Orica [sic] started riding, it was pretty grippy as well. But we just stayed in a good position and then the descent, it was a super fast last 40 kilometres.
"But like I said, I'm here to work hard so any chance or opportunity to help the boys, I was riding to keep them out of the wind and then a little bit in the lead-out. But yeah, a good day."
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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