Geraint Thomas’ days as a Tour de France rider may be over, with the INEOS Grenadiers star suggesting the Giro d’Italia will be his target next year.
The Welshman, winner of the Tour in 2018, bounced back from a couple of difficult years to finish third in 2022.
Only the younger, dynamic legs of Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar were able to outpace the diesel-engined Thomas.
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Later in the year, Thomas floated the idea of switching his attention to the Giro and that seems to have been formulated into a firm plan - with the lack of time trialling in next year’s Tour as the driving force behind his thinking.
"I'm not too sure why they've done that," Thomas told Cycling News of the decision to have only 22 kilometres of TT in the Tour in 2023. "When I did my first Tour in 2007 - OK, it was a long time ago - it had two TTs of 50km plus, so it's quite extreme to go the other way like that.
"Those TT days are big, iconic stages as well. This year there were only three big bunch sprints, which are iconic stages as well. Maybe they're just trying to mix it up completely. I think it's disappointing there's not more [time trialling]."
Thomas, 36, has four Giro appearances to his name, with little success. Two DNFs and 118 and 80th-placed finishes are not worth flagging on his palmares.
The DNFs came about due to crashes and despite the misfortune, the Giro appeals to Thomas.
"It's a race I've always enjoyed, even if I've crashed out the last two times I've done it. It would be nice to go back and finish it," Thomas said. "There is a bit of [what might have been]. In 2020 I felt in really good shape. Even one before that with the motorbike parked on the road, I really would have loved to have seen how I'd have done.
"How I treat it would just be to get to the Giro as best I can. Whether that ends up being going for stages or riding GC, that's a different matter. But I'd really like to do the Giro.
"It'll be similar to the Tour this year - just get there in the best shape and go from there."
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After a great debut season, the UCI Track Champions League is back for season two, with Laura Kenny joining the party. You can watch it all live and on demand on discovery+. We will have extensive coverage across eurosport.com and the first race is in Mallorca on Saturday Nov 12, with the action starting at 5:30pm UK time.
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