After Chris Froome’s big surprise announcement he’s riding the Giro d’Italia, rumors quickly surfaced that RCS Sport had agreed to pay Froome and Team Sky an appearance fee of €2 million.
Giro d’Italia boss Mauro Vegni insisted this was bullcrap but it did raise a question about another rider on Sky’s roster, the one who’d been penciled in as the team’s Giro d’Italia captain in 2018: Geraint Thomas.
With Froome now taking over the Italian grand tour, what happened to the ambitions of Thomas? Curious query: Did RSC also agree to pay the Welshman to not participate in the Giro d’Italia? There’s hush money and then there’s don’t-bother-to-show-up money.
This is starting to get very, very expensive but if Israel is paying €10 million for three days in their country, perhaps they’re also covering Thomas’ get the Hell out of the Giro price tag.
The La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes one source with knowledge of the matter that Sky received two checks: one for Froome and a second for Thomas. In addition, the source claims that Thomas bought a nice red Ferrari and a mansion estate in Wales in the exclusive area of Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan.
Furthermore, Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reports that a contact within RSC has said that Thomas also insisted he be given five custom tailored Giorgio Armani suits and handmade Italian luggage from Fendi in return for his win-participation. Stranger still, he requested that famed Italian chef Massimo Bottura make all his pasta dinners for the next year.
“There’s no question, somebody went to Thomas with a blank check and said ‘G, what’s it going to take to get you to skip the Giro?'” said Antoine Lefuny, a French cyclist journalist who loves crazy conspiracy stories. “Vengi would do anything to get Froome in pink, drinking Italian prosecco and kissing photogenic Italian podium girls. If Geraint Thomas needs an extra paycheck to make that happen, then so be it.”
This is a story that no doubt will take a few twists and turns before we know the real truth.