Ineos have announced their Tour de France team, and you won’t have been able to avoid the news that both Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have been dropped from the final eight-rider line-up.
Froome was instead named as team leader for the Vuelta a España, and Thomas for the Giro d'Italia.
Team Ineos confirmed their TdF line-up on Wednesday:
- Andrey Amador
- Egan Bernal
- Richard Carapaz
- Jonathan Castroviejo
- Michal Kwiatkowski
- Luke Rowe
- Pavel Sivakov
- Dylan van Baarle
In a surprising reshuffle, 2019 Giro winner, Richard Carapaz, has been called up to the Tour de France squad to back Bernal, who has been given team leadership by team manager Sir Dave Brailsford. Carapaz crashed at the recent Tour de Pologne but has been passed as fit for the squad selection.
Sir Dave Brailsford
"Egan will once again target the yellow jersey in France and we are very excited to give last year's Giro winner, Richard Carapaz, his debut in this year's Tour also,"
"Geraint will target the Giro and take on the opportunity to double up his Tour de France win with another Grand Tour title, with the aim of being the first Welshman to win it.
"In turn, Chris Froome will target the Vuelta. Chris is a legend of our sport, a true champion who has demonstrated incredible grit and determination to come back from his crash last year. We want to support him to compete for another Grand Tour title and the Vuelta gives him that little bit more time to continue his progress to the top level.
"I am very proud that we have several current, and I am sure future, Grand Tour champions in the team. Selecting the right leader in the right race with the right support team is critical and has meant we have had to analyse all the latest information to make sure we are in the best position possible to optimise our performances in the coming months."
"We have been analysing closely how we can win the Tour de France this year and we have a passionate team united by a common purpose, ready to get the job done,"
Team Leader, Bernal
"I'm really excited to have this team around me in this Tour de France," Bernal said from the Alps where he is doing some final training after pulling out of the Criterium du Dauphine to avoid worsening a back problem.
"I think we are a young team with Pavel (Sivakov), Richard (Carapaz) and me. But we will enjoy it. We have a young team but also the experience of other riders like Kwiato Luke Rowe and Castro (Jonathan Castroviejo), so I think it's a good balance. I'm really happy to be in the Tour team; I'm just going to go there and try to do my best for them and the whole team."
Bernal suggested Thomas can do well in the Giro d'Italia and that he could possibly support Froome in the Vuelta a Espana after the Tour de France.
"It's a bit strange not to have G and Froomey in the Tour but I'm excited to see what G can do in the Giro," he said.
"I think it's a good Giro for him with the three time trials. I think he gain time there and try to defend in the big mountains.
"In the Vuelta, who knows, maybe I can go there to try and help Froomey. Now I need to be focused on the Tour but after the Tour I have on plans yet, so it could be a good option."
2018 Tour Champ Geraint Thomas
"It's nice to finally have a firm plan in place and to know exactly what I'm doing and, yeah, try and get some sort of positive out of this year," said Thomas with a hint of despondency in a video released by Team Ineos.
4-time Tour Winner Chris Froome
"It's definitely a readjustment for me – moving the goalposts from the Tour de France to the Vuelta a España – but I think, given where I've come from through the last year, I've had an incredible recovery from the big crash I had last year, and I'm in a very fortunate position to be back racing now already,” Froome said in a video published by Team Ineos.
“But I'm not confident that I can really fulfil the necessary job that would be needed from me at this year's Tour de France, and I think it's a lot more realistic targeting the Vuelta a España, and it gives me a chance to really get stuck in to something that's deliverable, really.”
No doubt Sir Dave will have had to make some apologies to RCZ, the Giro organisers, for the reigning Maglia Rosa not making the start line. As well as Carapaz himself - surely disappointed not to be defending his jersey and taking a back-up leader role to Bernal...
That said, if we look at the last 8 years of Sky/Ineos domination, its probably fair to say Sir DB probably knows what he is doing...!
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Resources/Credits: Cycling News | Getty Images Sport