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Thomas, Froome target Tour de France in 2019

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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.

Britain’s richest man becomes new sponsor of Team Sky

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LONDON — Britain’s richest man has bought the Team Sky cycling team, which will be renamed Team Ineos.

Jim Ratcliffe, who is the chairman of chemicals giant Ineos, is reported by the Sunday Times rich list as being worth 21 billion dollars (18.5 million euros).

Ineos pledged in a statement on Tuesday to honor all “existing commitments to riders, staff and partners.”

The team’s launch takes place at the Tour de Yorkshire which starts in Doncaster on May 2.

Sky’s long-time team principal Dave Brailsford welcomed the move, saying “it ends the uncertainty around the team” and “represents a huge vote of confidence in our future.”

Sky has won six of the past seven Tour de France races, with Chris Froome winning four times and Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas winning it once.

British broadcaster Sky announced its withdrawal from the sport last December following the European pay TV giant’s takeover by American company Comcast.

Roglic wins Tirreno-Adriatico by one second ahead of Yates

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Primoz Roglic of Slovenia won the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race by one second when he beat British rider Adam Yates in the final-stage time trial on Tuesday.

Victor Campenaerts won the 10-kilometer (six-mile) individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.

Roglic, who rides for Team Jumbo-Visma, started the time trial in second place in the overall standings, 25 seconds behind Yates.

“It was unbelievably close. I was lucky in the end,” Roglic said. “I felt strong … I tried to make a difference and really go for it and I really pushed until the finish line.

“I was confident but I can only control myself.”

Yates had been in the lead of the race since the second of the seven stages, while his Mitchelton-Scott team had won the opening-day team time trial.

“It was close, but it wasn’t enough, that’s how it goes, that’s bike racing,” Yates said. “I did the best I could, I said yesterday that 25 seconds isn’t really enough. But I did a good TT, I’ll have to look back but I think the power was good and I held my position for as long as I could.

“There wasn’t much more I could do, the strongest man won, but for sure next year I’ll be back and hopefully I can come back stronger.”

Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark finished third overall, 30 seconds behind Roglic and nearly a minute ahead of Tom Dumoulin.

Campenaerts won the final stage in 11-plus minutes. Alberto Bettiol was three seconds behind the Belgian. Jos van Emden of the Netherlands was four seconds back.