Thomas will line-up alongside Gianni Moscon, Owain Doull, Diego Rosa, Michal Golas, Salvatore Puccio and Leonardo Basso, with Moscon likely to be the protected team leader on the dirt roads and climbs of the Tuscan one-day race. Michal Kwiatkowski, who won the 2017 edition of Strade Bianche, will not ride his year because he is part of Team Sky’s Paris-Nice squad. The French race starts on Sunday.
Thomas raced on the dirt roads of Tuscany when part of the Great Britain U23 Academy, but has never raced Strade Bianche before.
Thomas and Moscon will face many of the best classics riders and even some Grand Tour climbers on Saturday. The 2018 winner Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens lead Lotto Soudal, while Greg van Avermaet is hungry to land a major win for CCC Team. Vincenzo Nibali and Fernando Gaviria are also in action, and Julian Alaphilippe and Zdenek Stybar give Deceuninck-QuickStep plenty of options.
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Thomas has recently spent two weeks training at altitude on Mount Teide to get his form back on track after months off celebrating his 2018 Tour de France success. He made his season debut at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain, but was still not at his best.
Thomas has pushed back on suggestions from bike sponsor Pinarello that he may ride the Giro d’Italia, insisting he is focused on returning to the Tour de France to aim for a second victory. Chris Froome is also expected to target the Tour de France, with Egan Bernal and Moscon set to lead Team Sky at the Giro d’Italia.
"I did not want to jeopardise the chances of the Tour for anything this year,” he told the BBC. "As defending champion I feel as if I have to go back and want to be in the best shape possible."
"The Giro feels like unfinished business and I wanted to think about that," said Thomas. "Maybe I'll race it next year but this year has always been about the Tour."
Team Sky for Strade Bianche: Leonardo Basso, Owain Doull, Michal Golas, Gianni Moscon, Salvatore Puccio, Diego Rosa and Geraint Thomas.