Team Sky look to Tour de France 2015 as Geraint Thomas signs new two-year deal

The British rider impressed at this year's Tour de France and has been rewarded with a new contract until the end of 2016

Paris

The last barriers for the Tour de France on Sunday – and the women’s La Course race – have yet to be cleared away on the Champs-Élysées, but Team Sky started their planning for next year’s race and beyond by announcing they have re-signed the Welsh rider Geraint Thomas for 2015 and 2016.

Thomas is not – yet – touted as a Grand Tour contender, but he has been an integral part of Sky’s Tour line-up since the team started in 2010. The one exception to that was in 2012, when he concentrated on  taking his second Olympic gold in the Team Pursuit.

This year, Thomas was the one British rider to complete the entire Tour de France, finishing 22nd. The 28-year-old will be back in action this week at the Commonwealth Games, competing in both the time trial and the road race.

Following Sky’s worst Tour since 2010, the team principal Sir Dave Brailsford has been adamant that the squad can turn things around, saying on Sunday: “We won twice, this time round it was not our turn, but we will be back.”

The team’s first major stage racing target, though, will be the Vuelta a España, cycling’s third Grand Tour, which starts on 23 August.

Chris Froome, who retired from the Tour after a crash,  is likely but not certain to lead Sky in Spain, with the rider telling NBC television from California, where he is training: “The first thing is to be in a good condition to race, then I’ll take things from there.”

Froome said he was still riding with a splint to protect his fractured wrist from un-necessary jarring, but when it came to friction between himself and his Sky team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins if they were to ride the same race again, he said he did not anticipate any problems. “I don’t see why,” Froome told NBC. “We’re both professionals and both on the same team.”

The Vuelta was the first race – in 2011 – where it became painfully clear Sky would have difficulty handling two potential Grand Tour winners on their books. Wiggins was the team leader, but Froome proved stronger in the mountains, taking second on the final podium ahead of the Londoner, who finished third.

In 2012, an exhausted Froome dragged his way to fourth in the Vuelta after riding the Tour flat out as Wiggins’ key lieutenant and finishing as the runner-up in Paris.

This time round, Froome would be far fresher and participation in Spain would be a way for Sky to put a lacklustre Giro and badly below-par Tour behind them.

Read more: Nibali sets his sights on Rainbow Jersey after Tour win
Kittel wins final stage of the Tour on the Champs-Élysées
The best moments of the 2014 Tour

Brailsford also confirmed yesterday that there was a possibility Sky would follow the examples of Orica-GreenEdge and Lotto-Belisol in creating their own parallel women’s squad.

He told the BBC he had been talking about the idea “a lot” and pointed out there was a need for greater equality between men’s and women’s cycling.

“We’ve got some brilliant female cyclists,” he said.

His comments came after Sunday’s successful first edition of La Course, which aims to reboot women’s cycling.

One final question for the future is how Sky will remodel their team for next year. Talented Dutchmen Lars Boom and Wilco Kelderman are reportedly possible recruits, as is Astana’s Fabio Aru, third in the Giro. With a third of the squad out of contract, a major overhaul of Sky’s line-up is not out of the question.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Healthcare expertise

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf