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Tom Pidcock could ride Tour de France as Ineos shuffle Grand Tour plans

BURGOS SPAIN AUGUST 15 Thomas Pidcock of United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers crosses the finishing line during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021 Stage 2 a 1667km stage from Caleruega Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Guzmn to Burgos Gamonal lavuelta LaVuelta21 CapitalMundialdelCiclismo on August 15 2021 in Burgos Spain Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
Tom Pidcock could make his Tour de France debut this year (Image credit: Stuart FranklinGetty Images)

Tom Pidcock could make his Tour de France debut in July as Ineos Grenadiers look to shuffle their Grand Tour rosters after Egan Bernal’s terrible training crash.

Ineos Grenadiers team manager Rod Ellingworth confirmed to Cyclingnews that the British team have opted to follow their original plan of Richard Carapaz targeting the mountainous Giro d’Italia. 

Adam Yates will defend Ineos Grenadiers' GC hopes at the Tour de France and Filippo Ganna targets the opening time trial and the first yellow jersey in Copenhagen.

Pidcock was due to ride the Giro d'Italia alongside Carapaz and 2020 winner Tao Geogheghan Hart. Despite missing Strade Bianche due to a stomach problem, he faces an intense spring Classics campaign that started after his cyclo-cross world title and is scheduled to last until Liège-Bastogne-Liège in late April.

It makes sense for Pidcock to take a break after a long block of racing that includes cyclo-cross and the Classics and then prepare for the Tour de France, where he gets his first taste of the sport’s biggest race.

"Of course, without Egan, it changes how you approach a race like the Tour," Ellingworth admitted to Cyclingnews.  

"We’ll still stick with Richard Carapaz for the Giro d'Italia and Adam Yates for the Tour de France. The Vuelta a España is now a bit more open but we’ll see how we go.

"We hope to have Filippo Ganna at the Tour and going for the opening time trial. Adam came to Ineos Grenadiers hoping to improve on his fourth overall in 2016 and we’ll work with him on that. He’s ambitious and wants it, so we're going to the Tour all-in with him. The Giro suits Richard pretty well and so that’s why he wants to focus on the Giro."  

Geraint Thomas role in Grand Tours has yet still to be confirmed, while Ineos Grenadiers are doing everything they can to help Bernal make a full recovery.  

"Egan's accident was a big blow for him and for the team. He was settled in the team and focused on improving even more. He could see his career path ahead of him," Ellingworth said.  

"We can only hope that he recovers well and comes back to his best. He seems to be fully committed to all the rehabilitation work, which will be vital. He’s got full support from the team and now he’s got to take it day by day, without rushing or worrying about coming back before he’s fully ready."

Cyclingnews revealed on Monday that Pidcock will stay with Ineos Grenadiers despite a host of interest and offers from leading bike brands who admire his multi-discipline success and would love to tempt him away from Ineos Grenadiers and off a Pinarello bike.

The 22-year-old Yorkshire rider missed Strade Bianche due to a stomach problem but is targeting the Classics in the early years of his professional career, but his dominant victory in the Under-23 Giro d’Italia in 2020 suggests he could also develop into a Grand Tour rider.

"I can’t say anything officially on his contract but we’re on a journey with Tom," Ellingworth told Cyclingnews.

"He showed the world what he can do across three disciplines: road racing, cyclocross and mountain biking. That’s why we’ve invested in him so much last year. Riders have dreams and ambitions and I always say a team has to follow those dreams and ambitions and make it work for everyone.

"There’s no doubt about what Tom can go on to do. He rode the Vuelta last year after winning gold in the Olympics but came through it pretty well.

"We’re not sure if he’ll do the Giro or the Tour this year. He’s got a big spring programme and so we’ll see how it goes. It’s perhaps too early to fully understand if he can develop into a great Grand Tour rider but you’ve got to keep the door open and explore all the options."

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.