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Ineos Grenadiers announce Tour de France team - There's no spot for Froome or Thomas

Froome will target the Vuelta while Thomas heads to the Giro

The Ineos Grenadiers have just announced their 8-rider lineup for the Tour de France. In a shock move, there is no space for former winner Geraint Thomas. Four-time winner Chris Froome misses out too, though his move to Israel Start-Up Nation and lack of form means his exclusion isn't such a surprise.

The squad for Ineos is Egan Bernal as the outright leader. He'll be supported by Richard Carapaz, Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski, Luke Rowe, Pavel Sivakov and Dylan van Baarle.

Explaining Froome and Thomas' lack of selection, team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford said that "we've looked at how we can win this race, maybe with a slightly different approach than in the past, but we've got a good game plan and these are the guys to deliver on that"

It appears that performances in the limited number of races have been the deciding factor, with both Thomas and Froome seemingly too far off the form that took each of them to victories in the three-week stage race.

Doubt over Froome's selection has been high since the four-time winner announced that he would be leaving Team Ineos at the end of the year for Israel Start-Up Nation. This move is rumoured to be worth €5m per year, though the reported 5-year contract is yet to be signed. 

Froome describes his new goal of the Vuelta a Espana as being "a readjustment", but seems to be genuinely aware that he wasn't ready for the race. "Given where I've come from, through the last year, I've had an incredible recovery from the big crash that I had last year and I'm in a very fortunate position to be back racing now already, but I'm not confident that I can fulfil the necessary job that would be needed of me at this year's Tour de France. I think it's a lot more realistic targeting the Vuelta as it gives me a chance to get stuck into something that is deliverable."

Thomas, meanwhile, might be feeling a little hard done by given his unwavering loyalty to the team. The Welshman won the Tour in 2018 but has ridden in the service of others, most recently in 2019 when he helped Egan Bernal become the youngest winner of the race in 110 years. To be cut from the team just 13 months on must leave a sour taste.

Not that Thomas was bitter when he spoke to the team's social media team. "It feels like it's back to some sort of normality with the team and racing and everything. It's nice to finally have a firm plan in place and to know exactly what I'm doing and yea, try and get some sort of positive out of this year."

Thomas says that he has a little bit of unfinished business in Italy, having crashed out of the 2017 Giro, he seems eager to return. "It's always something that I've wanted to go back to. I enjoy the racing there. I've always loved Italy you know, the roads, the fans and the food, obviously."

Bernal will now become sole leader of the team with Giro winner Richard Carapaz acting as a super domestique. Young Russian Pavel Sivakov, Michal Kwiatkowski and Andrey Amador will do the majority of the work on the climbs while road captain Luke Rowe, Dylan Van Baarle and time trial specialist Jonathan Castroviejo will shoulder the work on the flats. This being Ineos, though, Van Baarle and Castroviejo will also be expected to form part of the mountain lead-out train.

An interesting sub-plot to watch will be the amount of work expected of Carapaz. Bernal recently pulled out of the Dauphine, a mountainous week-long stage race, with back problems and didn't look to be a match for the Team Jumbo Visma leader Primoz Roglic. Crarapaz might be called on as back up leader should Bernal's back, or form, continue to falter.

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peted76 | 3 years ago
1 like

I do get it, Froome's an easy one, he's not back to the level he was, totally understand, also he's buggering off to another team so zero reasons to keep him in. G I get also, if he's not up to the task (and it didn't look like he was at the Dauphine) then it's the best decision for the team to make. Carapaz to the tour gives them a better chance, however I cannot see anyone getting the better of Jumbo in the long run. 

I sincerely hope G gets his form together for the Giro, he's such a good guy to see win stuff.

However I wonder if Brailsford or Fran Millar think that anyone this side of the pond has any affinity to a Columbian.. Egan may be a great young talent but I personally could not now care less whether Ineos win anything with him as leader. He's not very enigmatic, in English anyway, and doesn't seem to have the 'something' I like my tour winners to have. Quintana is the same. I feel G would have won last year if those last few stages had played out properly. 

Aye well.. I'll be cheering on Luke Rowe as the only British bloke on that team, but I guess it'll be the Yates brothers, who I'll be hoping can get a stage or two and maybe a podium this year.

Now I'm also looking forward to the Giro a bit more  1

Compact Corned Beef replied to peted76 | 3 years ago

They're racing for an audience of one though, aren't they? And if Ratcliffe has said he doesn't care where the talent comes from (or potentially has said he'd like to see Ineos become a household name in Latin America) that's what they'll do. They've no room for sentiment.

WashoutWheeler | 3 years ago
1 like

This news should come as no surprise to any of us, Gabriel Rasch slagging both Thomas and Froome off less than a week ago was a clear indicator as to what had already been decided!!! I only ever followed Sky / Inneos for Wiggins, Thomas & Froome, I have always felt that the team's habit of hoovering up talent to put into stock is NOT good for the long term development of the sport IMHO.

So dodgy Dave has done me a favour, I will be able to enjoy this year's Tdf without feeling remotely compromised. IMHO Bernal won the Tdf by default last year, and I do not see him doing much more than exposing his lack of experience leading a team this time around especially as he will very sadly not have Nico Portal to guide him as Rasch is nowhere near filling Nico's shoes.

Personally I would love to see "G" move on to a team that will respect him.

Compact Corned Beef replied to WashoutWheeler | 3 years ago

Bahrain McLaren? And then maybe Landa and he can work together again - though I've seen nothing of Landa in recent years that suggests he's really a contender for the top step. Would love to be proved wrong, though!

waldner71 | 3 years ago

100% agree with DB on the selection. Froomey and G clearly far off their usual level  so makes sense to let them focus on the other Grand Tours. This year's team for the Tdf  is the strongest they could have picked, but weaker because of the lack of form and pedigree of these 2 guys but good to see some new riders being given a chance. 

Interesting point the BBC article mentions:
 "Ineos decided not to renew Froome's contract, feeling Froome's camp lacked the grace expected in negotiations, given the support the team had shown him during his rehabilitation following his crash a year ago..
Had things been handled differently in recent weeks, Froome could well have seen out his career at Ineos."

In my view Froomey would be better staying with Ineos to have a chance to add to his list of Grand Tours, assuming he can return to his previous levels, which at the moment remains to be seen.
Also,  "This move is rumoured to be worth €5m per year, though the reported 5-year contract is yet to be signed"

Perhaps there is some wiggle room if he changed his mind?

Awavey replied to waldner71 | 3 years ago

"lacked the grace..." they wanted to pay him less and couldnt guarantee him a team leader role anymore, something which Movistar (& others) have repeatedly shown you cant ride a GT with multiple winners competing against each other and not expect them to trip over or fall out to the detriment of the whole team, it sounds like pr spinning to deflect awkward questions about which rider theyd have favoured, by dropping them each into their own tours they can pretend the problem is solved for this year at least.

handlebarcam | 3 years ago

This is the downside of being on an all-conquering, money-bags team which has hoovered up a lot of talented people. On a lesser team, they'd probably have been on the start list, with the hope being they'd ride themselves back into form (at least back in the Jean-Marie Leblanc years, when the first week-and-a-half was generally sprint and transition days, plus a TTT). But then, if they were on such a team, they probably wouldn't have won so much in the past.

It seems like Froome might have a lot riding financially on being good enough to get in the Vuelta squad, and put in a reasonable performance.

roadrunner23 | 3 years ago

I guess it makes some kind of sense. Clearly Froome and Thomas are slightly undercooked just now and owing to the compressed nature of the year, recovery from each grand tour is going to be limited. So Ineos were always going to need 3 leaders, one for each grand tour, so putting all three in the TdF was always unlikely to happen. I expected Carapaz to go for the Giro though but with Thomas out of form a fall back leader was needed for the TdF. If Thomas had shown better form he would have been in the TdF and as no injury is acknowledged then he only has himself to blame and will be bitterly disappointed. Look out for a transfer here perhaps?

RobD | 3 years ago

I'm almost more surprised by Carapaz's inclusion, I'd have expected him to have been going to the Giro to defend his title and continue as a team leader, unless he's thinking there's a decent chance at a podioum for himself as well?

Or Maybe he's bought into the Ineos way of doing things and knows that he's paid to do what is asked of him regardless of his ambition?

Compact Corned Beef replied to RobD | 3 years ago
1 like

Pretty much the latter: here's a fat contract, you go where we send you, no dissent.

Perhaps a refreshing change after time at Movistar.

richliv | 3 years ago

Not really a surprise given both look undercooked in the three races just gone. However, class is permanent, form is temporary so giving them a bit more outdoor training time and  thereby some clever motivation, to go in the Vuelta and Giro , seems a smart move.

jigr69 | 3 years ago
1 like

Team Ineos showing that they are completely focussed on results and have no room for sentiment. Which since they are a business, is what it is all about.

But I'll certainly miss watching Froome and G in the Tour De France this year though.

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