Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have been dropped from Team Ineos for this year’s Tour de France after paying the price for their poor form at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné.
Froome, who was desperate to win an historic fifth yellow jersey after coming back from a horrific crash last year, will instead race the Vuelta a España in late October. The 2018 winner Thomas, meanwhile, will head Ineos’s challenge in the Giro D’Italia in early October.
In their absence, the Ineos team at the Tour de France will be led by Egan Bernal, with Richard Carapaz, who won last year’s Giro D’Italia, alongside him. Only one Briton, Luke Rowe, is in the eight-man squad.
Sir Dave Brailsford, Ineos’s team principal, explained that he had left Froome out to give him more time to prepare for his final grand tour with the team before he joins Israel Start-Up Nation. “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,” he said. “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.
“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.”
The decision to leave out Froome and Thomas looked likely after the Ineos sports director, Gabriel Rasch, admitted that neither man was good enough in last week’s Critérium du Dauphiné. Both men were repeatedly detached from the general classification group in the mountains, while on Sunday’s final stage they both finished more than 30 minutes behind stage winner Sepp Kuss.
Instead, Bernal and Carapaz will be joined on the Tour, which begins in Nice on 29 August, by Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski, Luke Rowe, Pavel Sivakov and Dylan van Baarle.
“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,” said Brailsford. “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.
“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.”