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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 22 March, 2019
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Froome to skip Giro defence as he targets record-equalling fifth Tour de France

Defending TDF champ Geraint Thomas confirms that he will also be targeting the Tour and the Worlds.

French mission: Thomas, left, and Froome, right, will prioritise the Tour in 2019.
French mission: Thomas, left, and Froome, right, will prioritise the Tour in 2019.
Image: Adam Davy

TEAM SKY DUO Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas will miss the Giro d’Italia to ensure they are firing on all cylinders for the Tour de France.

Froome completed a Grand Tour treble when he became the first British rider to win the Giro last year, but he will not be on the starting line in Bologna on 11 May.

The 33-year-old’s priority in 2019 will be attempting to secure a record-equalling fifth Tour title in what will be Team Sky’s final year in professional cycling.

With Thomas’ focus on defending his Tour crown and a tilt at the time-trial World Championships in Yorkshire, Egan Bernal is set to take a lead role for the first time in a Grand Tour race at the Giro.

Froome said: “It’s been a hard decision to figure out exactly what to do in 2019 and figure out which Grand Tours to focus on, especially having won the Giro last year and having had such an amazing time out there with the team - but for 2019, my number one objective is going to be the Tour de France.

“It was definitely a difficult decision not to go back to the Giro d’Italia and defend the maglia rosa. I’ve got some amazing memories from last year, but I think, with the Tour de France as my main objective, it’s probably better that I skip the Giro d’Italia in 2019.

“I’m getting to the point in my career now where I’m starting to think about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind and if I am able to win the Tour de France for a fifth time and join that very elite group of bike riders – only four other people have ever done that – it would just be incredible.”

Welshman Thomas stated: “The main goal for me will be to go back to the Tour de France for the best result I can. Maybe if I hadn’t have won the Tour in 2018 I might have looked at a Giro/Vuelta programme but, having won the Tour, I’ll have the number one on my back and it would be sad not to go back and not to go back at 100% as well.

“The year will be geared around that, but I’m also looking forward to a slightly different programme as well, and obviously after the Tour, the Worlds in Yorkshire will be massive.

“I think the time trial will be my best chance of getting something out of it. It will be a good goal to have for the end of the year. I certainly want to be there because the support in the UK and in Yorkshire especially is just unbelievable at the moment. They’re going to be a massive Worlds and it will be great to be a part of that.”

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