MANCHESTER, England — Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome, the current and former Tour de France champions, are planning to compete in the 2019 edition of the race in what could be Team Sky’s final bid for cycling’s biggest prize.
Froome will not defend his Giro d’Italia title as targets a record-tying fifth win in the Tour, while Thomas is bidding for back-to-back victories.
Both British riders have said they want to deliver success on the road in order to help Team Sky secure new sponsorship, with its future uncertain following the decision of broadcaster Sky to end its investment in the sport after 2019.
The 33-year-old Froome said it was a difficult decision not to defend his Giro title after becoming the first British winner of the race last May.
“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,” he said, “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.”
Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil and Miguel Indurain are the other five-time winners.
PARK CITY, Utah — Ben Hermans finished near the front once more in the final stage of the Tour of Utah on Sunday, allowing him to wrap up the overall title after taking second in the week-long race a year ago.
Joe Dombrowski won the finale, an 83-mile trek that began and ended in Park City, with 24 seconds to spare over a chase group led by Joao Almeida. Herman and Keegan Swirbul were another two seconds back with James Piccoli, one of the main instigators all week, rounding out the top five.
The finish was enough to give Hermans, riding for the Israel Cycling Academy, a 50-second margin over Piccoli with Dombrowski another 42 seconds back in third place.
The 33-year-old Hermans has experienced something of a rejuvenation this season. He won a stage and the overall at the Tour of Austria before taking the second and third stages in Utah.
“It’s really amazing,” the Belgian said. “I’ve been fourth, second last year, and to win – finally first. I really enjoy it here. It’s amazing to ride for these crowds and to be there on the podium in the yellow jersey is really, really nice.”
Travis McCabe won the white jersey awarded to the race’s top sprinter. Piccolli was crowned most aggressive rider, Almeida was top young rider and Hayden McCormick won the mountains classification.
ROME == Felice Gimondi, one of only seven cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours, has died. He was 76.
The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) said efforts to resuscitate Gimondi failed after the Italian suffered a heart attack while swimming on vacation in Sicily on Friday and died the same day.
Gimondi won the Tour de France in 1965 as a 22-year-old in his first year as a professional. He went on to win the Giro d’Italia in 1967, 1969 and 1976, and the Spanish Vuelta in 1968.
“Felice was one of the greatest champions to win great tours, a world championship and important classics while contesting, he alone, Eddy Merckx,” FCI president Renato Di Rocco said. “A great man who marked an era. Italian cycling mourns the passing of one of its pillars.”
Five-time Tour de France winner Merckx told Italian news agency ANSA, “A man like Gimondi is not born every day. With him goes a piece of my life. He was among the greatest ever.”
The other cyclists to win all three Grand Tours are Belgian rider Merckx, Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault of France, Alberto Contador of Spain, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and Britain’s Chris Froome.