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The Ineos Grenadiers captain closed out his 2022 season at the CRO Race last week, and heads into the winter with some big decisions ahead of him.
With one more year remaining on his current contract with Ineos Grenadiers for 2023, Thomas will huddle with family and team staffers to map out his future, both in terms if he will return to the Tour next year and for how much longer he will be part of the WorldTour peloton.
“We have to sit down and work out what I want to do. It could be my last year as well,” Thomas said. “I want to make the most of it.
“In the winter, I will sit down with my wife and decide what I want to do,” Thomas told VeloNews and Cyclingnews. “She’s keen for me to carry on. It’s more about how I feel. It’s a lot of time away all the time. It would be nice to do something new, but I am not also wishing it to go away quicker. I will decide what I will do.”
Unsure about a return to the Tour de France
Thomas — who holds the distinction of being the only British-born rider to win the yellow jersey — said he’s unsure if he will return to the Tour next year, or even if he wants to.
“I don’t even know if I will do the Tour, to be honest,” Thomas said. “Maybe the Giro. I don’t know. It’s all up in the air, really.”
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After hitting back at critics with an impressive third place at the 2022 Tour and victory at the Tour de Suisse, the 36-year-old returned to form this season.
“It’s always extra motivation to show that you still got it,” Thomas said. “When I won the Tour, it was nice to come back the next year to show it was not a fluke, so to speak.
“And it was nice to come back this year as well when people thought I was done. I feel like I have nothing else to prove.”
That’s certainly true for Thomas, who’s won two Olympic gold medals, one yellow jersey, and 25 pro victories across his long career on both track and road.
Thomas hinted he will debut at the Santos Tour Down Under in January, and perhaps even race the Giro d’Italia instead of the Tour.
After crashing out of the Giro in 2020, and an uneven Tour in 2021, Thomas never lost the faith he could shine again at the Tour.
“The main thing was to keep enjoying the racing, and doing my own thing. You can see that progression as well, like most years,” he said. “It was nice to be in the thick of it.
“Especially with the way last year was, it was pretty horrific. It’s nice just to enjoy the racing and get some results, too. I am proud of my ride at the Tour.”
Last of the original Sky riders still at Ineos Grenadiers
Thomas is the last rider still active from the original Sky lineup in 2010 who’s remained on the team every year in the team’s history.
Ben Swift was also part of the first Sky team, but he left for a few seasons to return to the Ineos Grenadiers fold in 2019.
At 36, Thomas said he’s still motivated to train and enjoys racing. It’s the long hours on the road and time away from his growing family that’s the hard part.
“That’s what motivates me and excites me, I want to start the year going a bit better than I was this year,” he said. “I want to be at the front of the race and in the mix of the racing, not necessarily winning, but being right up there, you enjoy it more. I want to be at Down Under. That would be a nice place to start the season.
“I still enjoy the racing and the training, the main thing is the time away from home.”
Thomas knew he had good form going into the 2022 Tour, and came away pleased with a hard-fought third place behind Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar, the two leading lights of today’s generation.
“I knew it was always going to be hard, but you have to keep believing,” Thomas said of the 2022 Tour. “Once we got into the Pyrenees, it was more of a case of being aware of what’s happening around me as well, not just those two guys. They were just exceptional. It was a big achievement to be on the podium.”
Whether Thomas is back for another “big loop” around France remains to be seen.