Geraint Thomas will return to action in Italy next week for the first time since his Tour de France snub.
The 2018 Yellow Jersey winner will line-up in the Tirreno-Adriatico as he sharpens his fitness ahead of a crack at the Giro d’Italia next month.
Thomas last competed at the Criterium de Dauphine finishing 37th after which he was surprisingly dropped from Team Ineos’ Tour plans by team chief Dave Brailsford.
The 34-year-old will be up against a high-quality field in the Tirreno-Adriatico including team-mate Chris Froome who also missed out on Tour selection and will instead aim for the Vuelta a Espana.
Simon Yates, whose twin brother Adam currently leads this year’s Tour and is joining Team Ineos next year, Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) are also racing
The eight-stage race, delayed from its usual date in March because of COVID 19, will feature three expected sprint finishes, two hilly stages and two mountain days before the final time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.
Thomas will be keen to regain his fitness on the event as he looks ahead to the Giro where he was well in contention three years ago before a crash wrecked his hopes of what would then have been his maiden Grand Tour title.
“In 2017 I was in great shape. I was in a similar form to what I was in 2018 when I won the Tour,” said Cardiff’s Olympic track champ.
“The Giro ended badly that year with a crash and it’s something I’ve always wanted to go back to. I enjoy the racing there. I’ve always loved Italy, the roads and the fans and the food obviously. I’m looking forward to going back.”