Froome and Thomas react to 2019 Tour de France route

25 Oct 2018

Froome and Thomas react to 2019 Tour de France route

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Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Nicolas Portal have given their reaction to the 2019 Tour de France route, after it was unveiled in Paris.

The parcours looks likely to provide one of the toughest climbing editions of the Tour in recent memory, with a number of summit finishes, including three at over 2,000 altitude metres, while there are just 54 kilometres of time trialling.

Froome - who will be targeting his fifth Tour de France victory - is excited about the race and is looking forward to training for the demands of the 2019 route.

He said: "It's definitely a very different parcours. It's heavily weighted in terms of the climbs and the mountains, especially those over 2,000 metres which is a big factor as well.

"There are fewer time trial kilometres compared to previous editions so that's quite different. It's a race I'm really looking forward to preparing for now and it would be the dream for me to go for the fifth Tour de France win.

"Every year I've had to adapt and this year is no different. I'm going to have to adapt to it and make sure I'm at my best in the mountains. A lot of time at altitude will definitely be on the cards as part of our preparation for this year's Tour."

2018 Tour de France winner Thomas echoed Froome's thoughts, and believes the route still suits someone adept in all disciplines.
Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

You've got to be able to climb, you need a strong team around you... and then there's the time trial in Pau, which will be crucial.
He said: "It's always hard - it's the Tour de France! There's a lot of climbs over 2,000 metres of altitude and I seem to perform well at that height, so I like it.

"It will suit the usual Tour rider - a well-rounded rider with a balanced team. You've got to be able to climb, you need a strong team around you - there's a lot of medium mountain stages - and then there's the time trial in Pau, which will be crucial."

And Thomas enjoyed watching back highlights from this year's race on the big screen in Paris.

"It was nice to watch. They had a montage of this year and it brought back a lot of memories. It's the first time I've watched it since the race so it was special."
Froome on stage at the 2019 Tour de France route unveiling

Froome on stage at the 2019 Tour de France route unveiling

Both Froome and Thomas highlighted La Planches des Belle Filles, the race's first summit finish, as one to watch. Froome won his first Tour de France stage on the climb back in 2012, but it will be a little tougher this year, with an extra kilometre raced on a dirt road at over 20%.

"I've always enjoyed racing up La Planches des Belle Filles," continued Froome. "It will definitely be interesting this year, especially with an added kick at the end. It should sort the men from the boys."

Thomas added: "We've done that climb quite a few times before but not the extra bit we'll do next year. It will spice things up a bit! There's a lot of other stages that stand out as well. It should be another great race."

Team Sky Sport Director Nicolas Portal highlighted the final trio of Alpine stages as some of the race's toughest, but believes the early stage to La Planches des Belle Filles has the potential to set the tone.

Portal commented: "It's going to be crucial not to arrive totally on the limit in the Alps, but at the same time you've got La Planches des Belle Filles pretty early, and that stage looks quite hard to me. You don't want to lose too much time there. It would be better to smash it and at the very minimum not lose any time because it's always hard to get back in front during the race."

"The race looks tougher because of the summit finishes, but that's good for us because our guys are used to altitude because of the training camps we've done, so chapeau to the coaches. Also the guys perform well on hard summit finishes - they are good at pacing themselves, so I think it's good for us.

"A team time trial is always good for us too. The altitude plus the team time trial - even if it's not that long - are plus points for us."
Thomas and Froome watch on at the 2019 Tour de France route presentation

Thomas and Froome watch on at the 2019 Tour de France route presentation

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