Harrogate (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Geraint Thomas has admitted a glut of talent at Team Ineos may force him to target the Giro d'Italia next season rather than bid for a second Tour de France title.
The popular Welshman won the Tour in 2018 but came second behind his teammate, 21-year-old Egan Bernal in July.
Ineos will also welcome four-time winner Chris Froome back to action in October and have added Giro champion Richard Carapaz to their roster, making competition for leadership places ferocious.
In Harrogate for the 2019 UCI world cycling championships Thomas cut a smooth relaxed figure at a press conference for the British team ahead of the epic 287km run from Leeds to Harrogate on Sunday.
"The difference between winning the Tour and coming second is huge, you come second and nobody cares," lamented Thomas, who said he had been able to relax more since losing the crown, and added he was unsure he would be back in France in 2020.
"I'm going to wait at least until I see the courses, the routes for the Giro and the Tour and then go from there," Thomas said.
"You'd think Egan would want to ride (the Tour) again, obviously, being the defending champion," he admitted of his 2019 Tour co-captain who was better suited to the ultra-mountainous route earlier this season.
"Froomey, it's his big goal, he wants to win five," Thomas said of Froome's quest to join Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil and Miguel Indurain as the cyclists with the record amount of Grand Boucle wins.
"I'm definitely not going to make a call until at least our December training camp," Thomas said.
- 'Get me out of bed' -
The route for the Tour is revealed in October and the Giro in November.
"Even if I did the Giro, it would still certainly excite me and get me out of bed in the morning," said Thomas, who has yet to win the Giro or the Vuelta a Espana.
Both Froome and Carapaz have won the Giro, while Bernal as a mountains specialist may actually be better suited to the Italian race than Thomas.
The 33-year-old says his form has not peaked this season as it did in 2018 and will be riding for fellow Briton Ben Swift this weekend but could get in the mix if a large group arrive at Harrogate in Sunday's world road title race.
Thomas is riding despite pulling out of the time-trial this week saying he was off form.
"I'll stay in the wheels and try and hold on, obviously it would be amazing but maybe top five is the target," Thomas said on Friday.