The general consensus would seem to suggest that 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas will stick with Team Sky. Where else would he realistically go?
While a decision to stick with Sky would seem to ruin his chances of defending his Tour title next year, there’s just too many reasons to think he won’t remain on the team he’s been with since 2010.
Familiarity breeds, well, familiarity.
Chris Froome played the gentleman and good teammate with Thomas this year but he’ll want his shot at a recording tying fifth Tour victory the next time around France. Thomas could still play a backup role as plan B but that would seem to be a sad demotion after his sterling performances. It’s a no-go on that maillot.
It’s really a question of just how ambitious Thomas is now that he’s a grand tour winner. His personality is so chill and laid back that it’s hard for us to imagine he’d have the ego to insist on being the Tour captain. On the other hand, he may now be much less interested in the deferential, good soldier role and a move back into the shadows.
It would certainly be disconcerting but perhaps Thomas will agree to target the Giro d’Italia or Vuelta a Espana and hand the Tour leadership back to Froome. Is there any other scenario that makes sense?
Thomas has said repeatedly that the biggest reason he won the Tour was the strength of the team behind him — Froome, Woet Poels, Michael Kwiatkowski and new Colombian sensation Egan Bernal. No other squad has the budget and firepower to control a grand tour in the mountains.
We’re in agreement that for all Thomas’ talk of keeping his options open, there really isn’t a great option on another WorldTour team. Trek-Segafredo now has Richie Porte so there is no room for the Welshman.
Quickstep Floors doesn’t have a GC talent but the Wolfpack is built for one day races and classics. He’d have little support in the Alps and Pyrenees — he’d get the Vincenzo Nibali experience of trailing behind Sky for three weeks with little hope of cracking them.
Dimension Data is another formation on the lookout for a true GC star but the drawbacks are the same. No domestiques when the gradients get nasty, nobody to set a blistering temp that discourages attacks.
BMC racing is dead and reborn as CCC, a classics squad built around Greg van Avermaet. There’s no argument you can possibly make to Thomas that would get him excited about that arrangement.
Katusha-Alpecin has a significant bank account but very little to show for their investment when it comes to Tour performances. Thomas would have the Russian climber Ilnur Zakarin for support but not much else.
Next door, over at Astana, there’s Miguel Angel López and team boss Alexander Vinokourov would love to have Thomas but the vibe would be a weird one. Plus, every season, Vino would force him to ride the Tour of Almaty.
UAE Team Emirates has Fabio Aru but he doesn’t seem to rise to the occasion in France. There’s oil money and ambition there but there’s also Dan Martin. Seems crowded.
We’d love to see EF Education First sign up Thomas to go with Rigoberto Uran but Jonathan Vaughters would have to start another crowd-funding campaign just to pay for the Welshman.
There are plenty of other teams that would love to welcome Geraint Thomas but none with the budget and resources to help Thomas beat the British super-team. He’s be wasting his time, an imitation of Warren Barguil after he signed with Fortuneo–Samsic.
So it’s a good news, bad news scenario for Geraint Thomas. Yes, Sky want you back, yes, they can raise your salary and yes, the rider support is fantastic but — bad news G — Chris is the Tour boss, not you.
All things considered, there’s only one logical destination: Welcome back to Sky, Geraint.