Team Sky's Welsh star also considering riding the Giro d'Italia in May...

Geraint Thomas has said he hopes to defend his Tour de France title as joint leader of Team Sky with Chris Froome at next year’s race.

Froome, aged 33, said at the weekend that winning a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey is his major aim for 2019.

Thomas, a year his junior, went into this year’s race as one of Team Sky’s two protected riders.

But despite Froome losing nearly a minute on the opening stage and Thomas winning back-to-back stages in the Alps midway through the race to move into the yellow jersey, it was only in the final week that Team Sky threw its full weight behind the Welshman’s challenge.

"We both need to decide what we are doing first," he told BBC Sport. "I can imagine he [Froome] will want to go to the Tour 100% because he will want to get the record of five Tour de France wins.

"I am keen to go back and enjoyed wearing and winning the yellow jersey.

"I think we can do similar the same as this year. He was a bit ahead of me in the leadership.

"But the way we raced I think we can do the same as this year and not race against each other. I think it can still work.

"As long as we are open and honest as we were this year, as they say let the road decide and the best guy will come out on top."

He continued: "There is also the Giro d'Italia as well a couple of months before."

The route of the 2019 edition of that race, as well as next year’s Tour de France, have both been announced in recent weeks and Thomas acknowledged that he has a choice to make.

"That [the Giro] is in May and I will have a look at the Tour in depth. Over the next few weeks I will decide what I want to go for 100 per cent.

"I am pretty sure I will go back to the Tour,” he said. “It will just depend on what shape I am and whether I have done the Giro before."

He also spoke about life beyond cycling. The Tour de France champion, who runs a wedding venue with his wife Sara near Newport – the very one they got married in – said: "I wouldn't want to do one thing.

"Chris Boardman does lots of different things. That variety would be key. I'm so used to travelling around and not being in more than one place for two weeks.

"If I was just living in Cardiff, doing the same thing day after day, it would be too much of a shock to the system.

"I want to do marathons, I want to do an Ironman. That'll be something physically to wean me off being a professional cyclist,” he explained.

"I've done a couple of runs in the off season and can barely walk the next day. A different part of me aches. It'll take some getting used.

"Initially I want to do it just to do it but when you start looking at times you'll get more into it, more serious, probably end up treating it as serious as I do a bike rider.”

He added: "I'd love to do it [Ironman], especially the Wales one. The bike route on that is pretty hard so that'll be nice for me."

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.