Once dominant, now dominated, Ineos-Grenadiers have to catch up after Thomas podium

Cycling – Tour de France – Stage 20 – Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour – France – July 23, 2022 Ineos Grenadiers’ Geraint Thomas in action during Stage 20 REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS, Jul 24 (Reuters) – After winning seven of eight titles between 2012 and 2019, Ineos-Grenadiers have been pushed out of contention since Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard brutally seized power and there is little chance the team Briton regain his crown in the near future.

Pogacar won the 2020 and 2021 Tours before being beaten by Vingegaard this year, and in these three editions Ineos-Grenadiers only managed two third-place finishes through Richard Carapaz last year and Geraint Thomas on Sunday without being in the mix for the general. victory.

“They’re bastards,” Thomas joked when asked about Vingegaard and Pogacar.

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The Dane won his first Tour at his second attempt, while his 23-year-old rival won the first two he entered.

“There have always been young guys who perform well, but those two are even better, especially Pogacar who can do it all.”

In Tom Pidcock, 22, winner atop L’Alpe d’Huez on his Tour de France debut, Ineos-Grenadiers have Tour-winning potential but still have a long way to go to come close to Vingegaard. and the Pogacar level.

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“Tom sure has a very bright future … but in the shorter term, who do you sign?” Thomas said. “The best way is that we came here with a good, solid lineup.”

Ineos-Grenadiers started the race with three leaders, but things quickly got tough.

“Dani (Martinez) was sick, Yatesy (Adam Yates) has been sick now, so if we have three really good guys, maybe, but the Jumbo-Vismas are very strong. UAE, you would say they are weak, but that day ( in the mountain stage that ends in Peyragudes in week three), Iceberg (Mikkel Bjerg) and (Brandon) McNulty, that day, what can you do?

“It will definitely motivate us and I will do my best if I do one or two more years, we definitely can, but for sure there is a lot to catch up on.”

HANGOVER

Ineos-Grenadiers, formerly known as Team Sky, may also need to adapt to a new, more aggressive way of racing after controlling their rivals with a fast pace from the bottom of the final climbs was enough to win the 2012 Tour. 2019, with only Vincenzo Nibali winning a title in 2014.

“Sky, Ineos, we had this perception of being robotic and we did it because it was the best way to win the Tour,” said Thomas.

On a personal level, Thomas was happy to finish third overall four years after winning the title, having started the race with a huge question mark over his ability to follow the best.

“I always believed I could be on the podium,” said the 36-year-old.

“The end of last year was really tough mentally for a number of reasons. Once I started back up, it was a steady buildup, but I was comfortable being in the mix.”

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“The team saw me more as a Sepp Kuss (Vingegaard’s lieutenant in the mountains), a domestic in the mountains who would be there all the time, that’s the impression I got. It changed a bit after the Tour de Suisse (in June). And I’m super happy to be there in the mix.”

Will Thomas celebrate his podium in Paris?

“I’ll try not to celebrate as much as in the past. I’d like to race until October. Because when you get closer to the end of your race… I want to see the most of it, I want to do more races, be with the guys,” he said.

“We will celebrate, but not as much as we used to, because one thing that comes with age is a hangover.”

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Reporting by Julien Pretot; Edited by Christian Radnedge

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