Geraint Thomas has confirmed he will skip this year’s Giro d’Italia “to be in the best shape possible” to defend his Tour de France title.
Chris Froome, who has made no secret of his ambition to win a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey at the Tour de France this summer, dropped a not-so-subtle hint last week that he would like to see his Sky team-mate race the Giro d’Italia beforehand, saying the route suited the Welshman.
But Thomas, who crashed out of the Giro d’Italia when he was targeting overall victory in the race two years ago – he was lying second overall at the time – told BBC Sport that his priority this year is the French Grand Tour.
"The Giro feels like unfinished business and I wanted to think about that," he explained. "Maybe I'll race it next year but this year has always been about the Tour.
"I did not want to jeopardise the chances of the Tour for anything this year.
"As defending champion I feel as if I have to go back and want to be in the best shape possible."
He admitted that the route of the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Bologna on 11 June, was “attractive, especially with three time trials, although they are hilly."
Besides the Tour de France, Thomas said his other priority this year is the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire in September, on a 54-kilometre course starting in Northallerton and ending in Harrogate.
"I still have some big goals and targets to get me out of bed in the morning," the 32-year-old said.
Before Christmas, broadcaster Sky said that it would terminate sponsorship of the team at the end of this season, although there are hopes that it will be able to continue beyond 2019 if a new backer is found.
Thomas – together with Froome, one of the founding members of the team in 2010, said: "We just have to concentrate on riding our bikes but we have every faith we should be able to find another sponsor.
"We want the team to stay together and I have been here since the start in 2010. It feels like family and we want to stick together."
Thomas was speaking ahead of his 2019 season getting under way at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana today, where he finished 13th in a short, 10.3-kilometre individual time trial, won by Dimension Data’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.