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

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor