Is he or isn’t he? Speculation is rampant after both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia routes were announced. And what’s more, what’s big Tom Dumoulin, second in both races, going to do?
As we all know, the Giro-Tour double is a colossally dumb idea if you’re riding to win, so come on, boys, what’s the pick?
It would seen insane to suggest that Froome might consider riding both — despite Froome claiming he hasn’t completely made up his mind. He just says that to let the Giro people down gently later.
Everyone is pretty damn confident that, after winning the Giro in shocking fashion and then failing in his quest for a record-trying fifth Tour win, Froome is 100%, all-in, totally focused on France. He desperately wants to join that select club with Merckx, Indurain and Hinault. (And by the way, the Badger won’t be happy to share the record with Froome. He’s been dumping on Froome since the salbutamol charade.)
Froome is not going to grind up his legs in the Giro before he races the Tour. There’s just no way in Hell that happens even if Giro boss Mauro Vegni tripled the participation fee. Froome likes money but he want’s that fifth win more than any truckload of cash.
Meanwhile, reigning Tour champion Geraint Thomas, also of Team Sky, would love to defend his crown in France but he, more than anyone, knows that while Froome might have eventually given way to Thomas in Le Tour, that won’t happen again. Not now, with history to be made.
As Thomas noted in his soon-to-be-released book, The Tour According to G, he didn’t get the protected rider status the team promised him. They weren’t going to wait for him if something went wrong in the team time trial and only Froome got the portable air conditioner after the Roubaix stage.
That kind of second class citizenship isn’t going to be appreciated in the 2019 Tour. It seems pre-ordained that Thomas will return to the Giro as captain, a race he has “unfinished business” with after crashing out in 2017. Then he will be a distant Plan B to Froome in the Tour, re-assuming his role as mountain domestique.
And Tom Dumoulin? He says Tour but that 34.7km time trial in the Giro sure looks mouthwatering. And there’s no Froome in sight.