10.25.2014

Tour de France: What About Geraint Thomas as Team Sky leader?

Geraint Thomas:
"What do we think of the 2015 Tour de France route then? #cobblestones!"
GT: "That was one hell of an epic stage. Professional sport can be truly brutal. Gutted for Froomey but I'm determined to fight even harder now....all the way to Paris."
It's about time, isn't it? I read a lot of comments last year suggesting it and yes, I think it's true. I think that could be one of the explainations behind Chris Froome's probable option for Giro and Vuelta, with Bradley Wiggins focused on the trak. Paris-Roubaix is going to be important, not only as a goal but also as a test. Wiggins said he aims to win it and last year he did pretty well (9), Geraint Thomas (7) has always did well on the cobbles so if they are a bit a drag for Chris Froome - as suggested by Sean Kelly - Thomas is looking forward.
By the way, no: I don't think that avoiding cobbles is the main reason. Froome isn't a Roubaix rider but has never looked particularly afraid of paved roads. In the last Tour de France he was supposed to defend his position not to improve it in the pavé stage, and he had got a very good escort, including also Geraint Thomas. He crashed in a previous stage and started it injuried, absolutely not the best in such a demanding day. Then another rider brought him down before the race hit the first sector of pavé. It was raining. A combination of bad luck and adverse factors where the cobbles don't seem decisive. Not really.
That day Gerain Thomas finished 21 and may said he could have achieved a definitely better result racing for himself since the start. In GC he was 14 at this point. In general he's a good climber and able to sprint. In Paris-Nice he took and kept for two days the leader jersey, lost it to the final winner Betancur and crashed out from 2nd in stage 6. He finished the Tour in 22 place, working hard for Froome, then for for Porte, finally fighting for a team stage victory. In my opinion he has got a good chance.
I named Richie Porte: he said last year that to be leader in the Tour he should change team. That's probably true. It could have been last year but he fell sick. Now I suspect that Porte is going to play a support role - in Italy or in France - also in the next season. 
Sum up my impression is that Team Sky will play its cards on many tables: a double big tour win by Froome (Giro and Vuelta), Paris-Roubaix by Wiggins (or Thomas), a top 5 result in the Tour de France by a young British talent (Thomas) and maybe some nice stage victories by Ben Swift. About the Classics... that's Team Sky weak point since ever, but now they signed Stephen Roche, he can do it.
It doesn't seem so bad. But maybe I'm wrong...

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