Team Sky's Geraint Thomas has told Cyclingnews he is preparing for this summer's Tour de France as if he is the leader of the squad.
The Welshman, speaking at the recent Volta ao Algarve, also said that there are teams he would consider leaving Team Sky for at the end of the year, and that the ethics of the anti-doping code are as important to him as the letter of the law.
Thomas is set to target the Tour de France this summer but his role within Team Sky's Tour squad is still uncertain. Four-time winner and defending champion, Chris Froome, is still fighting to clear his name after a positive test for salbutamol at the Vuelta a España last year. No time frame for the case's resolution has been publicly outlined, but Froome could end up missing the Tour de France.
That would leave Thomas as Team Sky's main GC hope, though Froome could still be cleared or continue racing only for a decision on the case to be made after the race.
As a follow-up to that, Cyclingnews asked Thomas in the Algarve what was more important to him – the letter of the laws surrounding anti-doping, or the ethical side? One of the areas Team Sky have faced scrutiny over are the so-called grey areas of the sport, such as their use of TUEs with regards to Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
"When we set out the goals for this season Tim Kerrison basically wanted me to be in Tenerife training from the end of Tirreno until Liège. That's a long block and I was thinking that maybe I could do Basque but that didn't really fit with the training. Then we looked at Roubaix. That works well with the Tour being on cobbles.
"I know I won't be in ideal form for Roubaix because I won't have that two-to-three minute power but if you have good legs, you have good legs."