Tour de France: Who is the boss at Ineos? - Sports
- Last year's winner Geraint Thomas is again strong on the Tour de France - even without a yellow jersey.
- But in his team, the question of the team leader is currently unclear.
With comparatively little effort and excitement, Geraint Thomas manages to set off. In the center of Belfort, this Friday morning, the teams gather for the start of a new tour day. As Peter Sagan gets off the bus, the Slovak eccentric, the screaming of the waiting fans is particularly great; "Julian" is also followed by Monsieur Alaphilippe, who narrowly lost the yellow jersey on Thursday. And as last year's winner Thomas comes off the bus, he has to sign a few autographs and also waits for a two-member fan delegation from the Welsh homeland. But really much action does not prevail there.
It is not a daring prediction that the onslaught on him will increase a bit in the course of this tour.
Geraint Thomas may well feel like a winner at the end of the first week of the tour - even though he has not won either stage or wears the yellow jersey yet. There was a moral success: On Thursday, on the disgusting gravel road to La Planche des Belles Filles, he was the strongest of all contenders - above all, he was nine seconds faster than his teammate Egan Bernal from Colombia.
Nine seconds, that's usually nothing in cycling. But sometimes nine seconds can be a lot too. For example, when they burst into a smoldering captain's debate like the team Ineos (until May Team Sky), which absolutely wants to celebrate its seventh overall Tour victory. And where, in view of the difficult stages in the next few weeks, everything revolves around the question, whether it's routine Thomas, 33, or Bernal, 22, the stronger one.
Geraint Thomas is quite a mystery. After his tour victory in 2018, he celebrated above all else. And so extensively that he did not ride a bike for two months in the fall and did not get on the scales until January. "I did not want to know, the pictures were enough for me to realize how fat I was, I did not need a number too, I think it would have broken me," he said recently. He completed only 25 race days and thus the least of all podium contenders in 2019 before the tour. He won no stage and was third in the Tour de Romandie; in the Tour de Suisse, the dress rehearsal, he got out after a fall.
Some people find it very human if, after such a triumph, somebody just lets five be straight. Thomas is more sympathetic than the former winners Bradley Wiggins and Christopher Froome anyway, and so far with him no concrete questionable medical process is connected as its predecessors. Others, on the other hand, find it inhumane when someone comes back after such bumpy preparation and drives away on a 24 percent steep ramp.