Geraint Thomas: Defending champion named joint leader of Ineos

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Defending champion Geraint Thomas and Colombian Egan Bernal have been named joint leaders of Team Ineos for the 2019 Tour de France.

Chris Froome is absent after fracturing his femur, elbow and ribs in a high-speed crash earlier this month.

Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, Wout Poels, Luke Rowe and Dylan van Baarle complete Ineos’ line-up for the 21-stage race.

Thomas said he was “lucky to escape serious injury” in a crash on 19 June.

The 33-year old, who became the first Welshman to win the race in 2018, said he thought the chance to defend his Tour de France title was over after a bad crash at the Tour of Switzerland.

His team-mate Bernal is in better form, and heads into the race after triumphing at the Tour de Suisse.

Thomas said he was excited about returning to the race and has no issue being named as a joint leader.

“Winning the Tour de France last year was the highlight of my professional cycling career and racing with the number one on my back is going to be special this year,” he said.

“The memories of 2018 will remain with me forever, but now I’m ready to create more with the team this year.

“It’s no secret my build-up has been affected by the crash at Tour de Suisse, but I’ve had a good block of training since and I feel ready.

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