Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas’s absence from the formidable Team Ineos line-up for this year’s race ushers in a new era with the accent on youth.
Defending champion Egan Bernal of Colombia and highly-rated Russian Pavel Sivakov are both 23 whilst last year’s Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz of Ecuador is 27.
Both 35-year-old Froome and Thomas, 34, have been set targets of achieving a team Grand Tour cleansweep with the former in the Vuelta a Espana (October 20 to November 8) and the latter the Giro (October 3-25). Their absence means there will be no serious British contender for the yellow jersey for the first time since Bradley Wiggins won La Grande Boucle in five Tour wins jointly held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
Bernal intimated if he was fresh enough post the Tour he might offer to help Froome in the Vuelta.
“It’s a bit strange to not have G and Froomey in the Tour, but I’m really excited to see what G will do in the Giro d’Italia,” said Bernal.