Cycling news - Chris Froome will not defend Giro d'Italia title as he targets Tour de France

Froome will not defend Giro title as he targets Tour

01/01/2019 at 10:29Updated 01/01/2019 at 11:15

Chris Froome will not defend his title at the Giro d'Italia in 2019, instead choosing to focus his efforts on the Tour de France.

Highly-rated Colombian rider Egan Bernal will be given the chance to lead Team Sky's efforts in Italy.

Froome, targeting a record-equalling fifth Tour title, said: “It’s been a hard decision to figure out exactly what to do in 2019 and figure out which Grand Tours to focus on, especially having won the Giro last year and having had such an amazing time out there with the team – but for 2019, my number one objective is going to be the Tour de France.

Video - Giro d'Italia 2019: Stage-by-stage guide


“It was definitely a difficult decision not to go back to the Giro d’Italia and defend the maglia rosa. I’ve got some amazing memories from last year, but I think, with the Tour de France as my main objective, it’s probably better that I skip the Giro d’Italia in 2019.

“I’m getting to the point in my career now where I’m starting to think about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind and if I am able to win the Tour de France for a fifth time and join that very elite group of bike riders - only four other people have ever done that - it would just be incredible.”

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas (left) and Chris Froome (right). (PA)

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas (left) and Chris Froome (right). (PA)PA Sport

His Team Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas is opting to do the same.

“The main goal for me will be to go back to the Tour de France for the best result I can," he said. "Maybe if I hadn’t have won the Tour in 2018 I might have looked at a Giro / Vuelta programme but, having won the Tour, I’ll have the number one on my back and it would be sad not to go back and not to go back at 100% as well.

“The year will be geared around that, but I’m also looking forward to a slightly different programme as well, and obviously after the Tour, the Worlds in Yorkshire will be massive.

“I think the time trial will be my best chance of getting something out of it. It will be a good goal to have for the end of the year. I certainly want to be there because the support in the UK and in Yorkshire especially is just unbelievable at the moment. They’re going to be a massive Worlds and it will be great to be a part of that.”

More to follow.