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Geraint Thomas could be moving from Team Sky, but where to?

Joe Robinson
1 Aug 2018

Cyclist looks at the WorldTour teams that may go hunting for the recently crowned Tour de France champion

Two Tour de France winners do not fit in one team. Just look at Bernard Hinault and Greg Le Mond riding for La Vie en Clare or even more recently at Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins at Team Sky.

In fact, two Grand Tour winners seldom sit comfortably in the same jersey. Look most recently at Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru while in the baby blue of Astana. 

So it comes as no surprise that recent Tour winner Geraint Thomas has already suggested an exit from Team Sky is on the table despite becoming just the third British rider to take the yellow jersey.

With four-time Tour champion Froome committed to Team Sky until 2020, the chances of Thomas being allowed an unshared defence of his title are slim and the Welshman recently admitted in an interview with the BBC that a switch could be an option.

'You want to listen to what people have to say because there are a lot of other strong teams around, it’s not just like Sky is up here and everyone is down there,' said Thomas.

'It’s quite fortunate I didn’t sign before the Tour. The team worked for me, we won the Tour, it’s crazy, but the way team is run works really well for me. But I’m open to hearing other options.'

The 32-year-old will likely want to defend his Tour title in 2019 but chances are the team will be focused on Froome racing for a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey.

Both will also have to consider, more long-term, their place with the astronomic rise of 21-year-old Egan Bernal.

The young Colombian was, at points, the team's strongest rider and has been clearly earmarked as the team's future Grand Tour leader.

While Thomas is highly appreciative of these incredibly talented super-domestiques - even admitting to the BBC he wouldn't join 'any old team because the main reason I won the Tour is because the strength of the team in this race' - he seems to have realised that his current team may not be big enough for him and Froome.

So with Thomas hinting at a potential move, it begs the question of where would he go? 

Below Cyclist takes a look at some of the viable options for Thomas and why he we could see him making the move.

Quick-Step Floors

A team built around the Classics, whenever they have brought in a General Classification rider they have had to fend for themselves. Look at Rigoberto Uran and Dan Martin as cases in point.

Yet if you were to ask Quick-Step sports director Brian Holm which rider he would most like to sign it would be Geraint Thomas. Holm ranks Thomas's ability to thrive across multiple disciplines as one of the most coveted in the business.

Of course, the decisions do not lie with Holm rather manager Patrick Lefevere but you cannot help but feel that the wiley old Belgian would be interested in a potential move.

Thomas would be unrivalled within the team in stage races and could even be afforded an opportunity to revisit the one-day Spring Classics as part of the most dominant team in that discipline.

However, it is unlikely Thomas would be keen to head to the Tour with almost no domestiques for the high mountains - something Quick-Step cannot currently offer - while the financial pressures of securing a headline sponsor for next season could make salary demands almost impossible.

Likelihood - 5/10

Trek-Segafredo 

Their lack of replacement for Alberto Contador suggests that Trek-Segafredo certainly have the budget to bring on Thomas, even with the expected pay rise he will have earned.

The team would also be keen to bolster their GC roster. Bauke Mollema was their big Tour hope for 2018 but he could only manage 26th overall, over an hour back from Thomas.

Riders such as Jarlison Pantano, Peter Stetina and Julien Bernard would even give him the support needed in the mountains. It would almost be the perfect fit.

The problem is that the American WorldTour team look to have already secured the signature of Richie Porte from BMC Racing for 2019. 

If that's the case, it is hard to see Thomas moving to a team in which he will have competition for the position of 'top dog' and it is unlikely an already-signed Porte would allow such a threatening move to happen.

Likelihood - 7/10

CCC (Formerly BMC Racing)

So if Porte is moving to Trek-Segafredo then that means the spot of GC leader has become open at BMC Racing, which as of 2019 will be a Polish team called CCC.

Porte, alongside Tejay Van Garderen and Rohan Dennis, all agreed moves away from BMC while the team was in flux, hunting for a sponsor to continue the team. 

Now, Polish shoe brand CCC has announced it will step up its commitment from Pro-Continental, and the team already counts new signing Paris-Roubaix winner Greg Van Avermaet on a three-year deal, while confirming a commitment to cycling for the foreseeable.

A move for Thomas could be considered likely.

However, when the team launched during the Tour, team owner Dariusz Milek confirmed that the team, as of 2019, would be built around Van Avermaet and his Spring Classics campaign.

This suggests that any investment would head towards those who thrive in the Spring rather than the Grand Tours.

Yet if the defending Tour champion comes knocking, it is hard to see Milek and CCC turning him down.

Likelihood - 7/10

Dimension Data

A disappointing season for Dimension Data has seen 'Africa's team' enter some soul searching.

Their marquee name, Mark Cavendish, has had a season blighted by injury and bad luck scoring just one win all season while also being ejected from the Tour for missing the time cut.

Other hopes such Steve Cummings and Edvald Boasson Hagen have fallen short, maybe showing that age is no longer on their side.

Thomas would slot in comfortably to a team that predominantly speaks English, has climbing talent like Louis Meintjes and Ben O'Connor and has a budget, provided by accounting firm Deloitte, to stretch to Thomas's requirements.

The issue here is that the Dimension Data have a pretty clear goal, an African winner of the Tour de France. The problem? Thomas is Welsh not African. 

Investment in Thomas would probably mean less investment in an African rider, which would only take them further away from this ambitious goal.

Yet, with the team progressively picking fewer African riders and more experienced Europeans in a bid to secure its place in cycling's top tier, it is not implausible that the signing of a Tour champion would be necessary to continue its original African mission.

Likelihood - 8/10