Geraint Thomas is out to make history at the Tour de France this year and has chosen to skip the Giro d'Italia in order to do so.
The two-time Olympic champion famously crashed while running second in the legendary Italian race two years ago, before going on to win the Tour de France last summer.
He became the third British cyclist to win the Tour, following four victories from his Team Sky teammate Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins’ landmark title in 2012.
The Giro is the first of the year’s three Grand Tours starting 11 May and ending 2 June – four weeks before the beginning of the Tour on 6 July - while the Vuelta a Espana runs in August and September.
Thomas said the Giro remains a long-term target of his but will not compete this year despite Froome’s comments saying the course suited the Welshman.
“It's attractive, especially with three time trials, although they are hilly,” Thomas said
“I still have some big goals and targets to get me out of bed in the morning.
“The Giro feels like unfinished business and I wanted to think about that.
“Maybe I'll race it next year, but this year has always been about the Tour. As defending champion, I feel as if I have to go back and want to be in the best shape possible.”
The 32-year-old begins his 2019 season this week with the five-stage Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in southern Spain, in his first race since he competed in the Tour of Britain last September.