Tour de Suisse – Here is Geraint Thomas and Ineos again as outsiders at the Tour de France against Roglic, Pogacar

Tour de Suisse – Here is Geraint Thomas and Ineos again as outsiders at the Tour de France against Roglic, Pogacar

The question burns the lips: have we found the conquering Geraint Thomas of 2018? Four years after his coronation on the Grande Boucle, the Welshman had tipped over to the wrong side, and to put it mildly, the one where the pedal stroke no longer worked.

Unable to win even one-week stage races for three years, the Cardiff native first saw the light a year ago. It was during the Tour de Romandie 2021, but there was no real tomorrow except for a stage success in the Dauphiné. Twelve months later, the sensations seem better.

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No one was able to run aggressively…

Coming to prepare for the Grande Boucle as a luxury teammate for the duo Adam Yates – Daniel Felipe Martinez, the rider from the Ineos Grenadiers team finally moved up a gear during this Tour de Suisse where he assembled all the elements to go for the win. Sunday, in Vaduz, after taking 2nd place in the final time trial behind Remco Evenepoel (3 “).

Often placed, never winner in Switzerland, Thomas opened his record on the event. “I was 2nd here in 2015, but Simon Spilak passed me and I lost by 5 seconds. I’m happy to have won this beautiful and hot race, because it was very hot. I am very happy“, commented the runner from Ineos with hindsight.

Lucid, Thomas put a little water in his wine when doing a more in-depth debriefing. According to him, the heat had an impact on the result. Understand: the pace suited him. “No one was able to race aggressively, it was more conservatively. The Mendrisio stage was super tough. It was necessary to show consistency and constancy. We lost our leader Adam Yates unfortunately.

Still behind the Yates-Martinez duo

Still, there were facts to analyze its success, far from being illogical. It was even a success à la Thomas. By playing the regularity card. Always placed in the mountains with a good pedal stroke, spared by the huge Covid cluster which destroyed the peloton and still just as rolling, over a distance of 25.6 kilometers, the former winner of the Grande Boucle scored quite a bit. of “leader” boxes during this last dress rehearsal before the Tour.

It’s been a while since we found him at such a level in the mountains and at such a level in the time trial“, analyzed our consultant Jacky Durand on the Eurosport antenna. “Obviously he will have a lot to do on the roads of the Tour with riders like Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar who were not on the roads of the Tour de Suisse.” Moreover, the two Slovenes, like Thomas, won their preparatory race: the Dauphiné for Roglic and the Tour of Slovenia for Pogacar.

Geraint Thomas during the Tour of Switzerland 2022

Credit: Getty Images

Can he become leader again in the Tour de France?

Now comes the other big question of this success at the Tour de Suisse: has Geraint Thomas gained ground to become leader again at the Tour de France? He swept the question aside by relying on the collective strength of Ineos, undermined on the Tour for two years by Pogacar and Jumbo-Visma.

On paper, Ineos will respect the pre-established hierarchy and leave with two leaders: Adam Yates and Daniel Felipe Martinez. The first was forced to retire because of the Covid and the second, which fixed its preparation on the Grande Boucle, picked up speed over the week to finish 4th overall. “With the team, yes we can be successful, that’s for sure“, briefly analyzed Thomas. “Tadej is the MVP of the last years so it will be difficult to beat him. We will have a great team, we will give everything to make the best Tour possible.”

Unable to last three weeks during the 2019 Tour, where Egan Bernal had exploded in the last week and won the event, set aside in 2020 by Dave Brailsford for a less than optimal form, anonymous 41st last year, the Briton has had a long desert crossing on the Tour. This may be over. He has a card to play during the event, even starting there with the status of luxury team member.

Geraint Thomas (Ineos) during the Tour of Switzerland 2022

Credit: Getty Images

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