Thomas and Ineos 'itching' for Giro to start

cycling01 May 2024 18:33| © AFP
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Geraint Thomas © Gallo Images

Geraint Thomas said on Wednesday he and his Ineos Grenadiers team were primed for a tilt at the Giro d'Italia title on a route that should suit him better than last year's edition.

The runner-up in the 2023 Giro, Thomas was leading the race until the mountain time-trial on day 20 in which he was leap-frogged at the last by eventual winner Primoz Roglic.

But Thomas is back for another go at the 21-day race which starts on Saturday.

"There's no stupid mountain time trial this year," said the 37-year-old former Tour de France champion.

"Hopefully I can gain some advantage in the time trials," he said of the generous duo of 71km of individual effort on this edition.

Thomas said he was happy to embark on the 3 400km route as second favourite, behind star turn Tadej Pogacar.

"Pogacar hasn't won this yet, and it takes pressure off us that he's there because we are not expected to win.

"But it's a massive task for us. He's one of the greatest ever. We will rise to the challenge. It's the Giro and a lot can go good or bad," he said.

Thomas said the fact there were mountains as early as stage two was in his favour.

"It's nice to get into the mountains early, a bit of tiredness in the peloton calms down the chaos," he said.

"This year I feel stronger than last year, but you don't know. Anyway I have done everything I can so I'll just go and race the race," Thomas said during a press conference where he was joined by teammates Filippo Ganna and Magnus Sheffield.

Italian Ganna knows he can bank on some home support and has won six stages on the Giro.

"Really happy to come back with this team, last year I abandoned with Covid. We are here to do the maximum," he said.

The 22-year-old American Sheffield is riding his first grand tour.

"We have such a strong, experienced team with a proven leader and I come here with a lot of ambition, to perform in the time trials or even go for a stage," said the New Yorker.

He said that other American riders had inspired him.

"Matteo Jorgenson's win at Paris-Nice was inspirational," he said of the Visma rider from California.

"I don't personally see the pink jersey this year but maybe in the future," he said.

Thomas rounded out the press conference in the Ineos Hotel in Turin by confirming he hoped to also ride the Tour de France but that he was focussed on the Giro.

"We are excited about racing, there's a good atmosphere in our camp and we're all itching to go."