Geraint Thomas has committed himself to Team Sky for a further three years. The news follows reports over the past 24 hours that the Welsh rider, currently enjoying a great Tour de France, might be leaving the British ProTeam at the end of this season.
Thomas has amply displayed his versatility during this year’s race, spending the first week of it in the best young rider’s jersey after finishing sixth on Stage 1, leading out Edvald Boasson Hagen to victory in Lisieux, and attacking on Thursday as the race headed up the Tourmalet to win that day’s combativity prize.
Earlier in the season, the former British champion had achieved a top-ten placing at the Tour of Flanders, which he has said is his favourite race, got his first ever stage race win in the Bayern Rundfahrt, and helped Bradley Wiggins to overall victory in the Criterium du Dauphiné.
Speaking to the Press Association yesterday, Thomas outlined his plans to help defend Great Britain’s team pursuit Olympic title in London next year – he was a member of the victorious quintet in Beijing – the 25-year-old from Cardiff revealed that he had held discussions with other teams chasing in his signature.
"There's definitely been a few teams interested," Thomas revealed. "It's great for your confidence when there's a few teams that really want you to join them. To have that respect amongst the teams is great and gives you a little buzz when you go out there racing."
Thomas continued: "A couple of the teams I've spoken to said they'd be happy to let me ride in the Games. It means a lot to a lot of people. Just because I'm British it doesn't mean 100% I'd stay. I'm definitely not going to discount them [other offers]. I'd listen to anyone really."
While transfers can’t be revealed until 1 August, teams often use their press conferences on the second rest day of the Tour de France to announce issues such as riders re-signing for the following season.
The fact that the announcement of Thomas’s new contract was only made today, however, suggests that Team Sky were eager to put an end to any speculation over his future, and as word spread of his comments to the BBC yesterday evening, the cyclist himself tweeted, “"For the record... I'm very happy here at Team Sky!!"
Today, quoted on the Team Sky website, Thomas said: "It's great news to be able to commit my future to Team Sky.
"The team have shown their potential over the last 18 months and I am delighted to have been a part of that success. The management have shown real faith in me as a rider and I feel like I'm improving all the time.
"The future is really exciting for Team Sky and British Cycling and I'm thrilled I will be able to play a part in it."
Team Princical Dave Brailsford added: "We are delighted that Geraint has re-signed for another three years with Team Sky.
"We have been determined from the start to build and develop a team around the very best homegrown talent like Geraint.
"The last two weeks at the Tour de France have underlined again his world class abilities and we look forward to seeing even more from him over the next three years."
Team Sky Senior Sports Director Sean Yates commented: “G is one of the strongest riders in the team. You can say anything to him and he carries it out to perfection, he can do it all.
"He's always got the legs and we've seen it time and again this year - he's worth five men really and it's great news. He's fantastic to work with and this gives everyone another lift."
Speaking of how his Tour de France has gone to date, Thomas said: "I knew I was going well coming into the race but I never really expected to be racing at the front for the best part of two weeks, most of the stages really."
He added: "I thought I could get up there on a couple of days and do my bit for the team at the team time trial but I've just been delighted with how it's all gone for me and hopefully that can continue right through this week now."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.