Dave Brailsford announced that Ineos Grenadiers will count on Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz and Tao Geoghegan Hart at the Tour de France as Egan Bernal will focus on the Giro d’Italia. Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock are heading for the Vuelta a Espana.
“We asked ourselves, ‘Do we put all our top riders in the Tour? Or spread them across the three?’,” Brailsford said. “I think this gives us a nice balance across the races.”
“When he arrived in Europe then at our team, he had a big smile every time he raced. The thing you noticed first with Egan was his big smile, and he was an aggressive and charismatic racer. It’s very important that he finds that joy of racing again”.
“From my point of view – and the team’s, and his – it’s all about getting that smile back on his face, enjoying being a bike racer. If he does that, he’ll get the results, but it’s not focusing only on the outcome; he has to focus on the whole of the process.
“He’s a very ambitious guy and I think he has to find… or we have to support him to really enjoy his racing again, and the rest will look after itself, I’m sure of that.”
“With us not winning the Tour last year, and coming back in more of a challenging role, it gives you the freedom to think about it differently and come up with the right creative strategy for how to win the race,” he said.
Geraint Thomas will try to gain time on the time trials in the Tour, while Richard Carapaz and Geoghegan Hart will ride an aggressive race in the mountains.
“The great thing about Richard is he’s not scared to take the race on. If he wins the Tour this year, then how does he win it? He’s not going to sit back and wait for the time trials, so he’s going to have to take opportunities in other areas,” Brailsford said.
“So you explore that, and how it contributes to a team approach with the other quality riders we have, and it makes for a very exciting and motivating prospect. Richard is a really important part of that strategy for us, in terms of the way he might go about the race this year.”