PARIS (Reuters) – Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas have been omitted from the Ineos Grenadiers squad for the 2020 edition in a major team shake-up on Wednesday.
Britons Froome and Thomas were below par in the Criterium du Dauphine, which serves as a form indicator ahead of the Tour.
The Tour starts on Aug. 29 from Nice.
Team manager Dave Brailsford brought in 2019 Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz of Ecuador to help Colombian Egan Bernal retain his title.
“Egan will once again target the yellow jersey in France and we are very excited to give last year’s Giro winner, Richard Carapaz, his debut in this year’s Tour also,” Brailsford said in a team statement.
Brailsford’s decision completes the changes at the top of Ineos, placing the team’s last two grand tour winners ahead of Froome and Thomas.
Bernal withdrew from the Dauphine before the penultimate stage because of back pains but is expected to be fully fit for the Tour.
Froome, who is back this season after a serious crash last year, will compete for a third Vuelta title from Oct. 20-Nov. 8 while Thomas will ride the Giro d’Italia from Oct. 3-25.
“Geraint will target the Giro and take on the opportunity to double up his Tour de France win with another Grand Tour title, with the aim of being the first Welshman to win it,” said Brailsford.
“In turn, Chris Froome will target the Vuelta. Chris is a legend of our sport, a true champion who has demonstrated incredible grit and determination to come back from his crash last year.
“We want to support him to compete for another Grand Tour title and the Vuelta gives him that little bit more time to continue his progress to the top level.”
Froome will leave Ineos at the end of the season to join Israel Start-Up Nation.
On the Tour, Bernal and Carapaz will team up with Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski, Luke Rowe, Pavel Sivakov and Dylan van Baarle.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Barbara Lewis)