Geraint Thomas is keen to keep his options open after confirming to Cyclingnews that the contract extension he signed with Team Sky last month was for one year – rather than two, as was initially announced.
When the Welshman penned the deal, it was widely reported that he would be staying with the British team through to the end of 2018. Though Team Sky did not announce the length of the new deal, a post on his own Facebook page said as much, with confirmation later coming from the team itself.
However, despite an option for an add-on at a later date, he has inked a one-year deal.
"I've basically extended it for a year. There were a lot of people saying I signed for two but it's just the year," Thomas told Cyclingnews ahead of the Tour de Suisse, where he'll lead the team.
"There's an option for two but it's not set in stone. I'm definitely there for one year, and then there's the possibility of adding an extra one on top."
Looking ahead to the transfer window later this summer, Thomas' was one of the standout names on the list of riders out of contract at the end of 2016. His horizons had broadened after a revelatory performance at the Tour de France last year, where his trajectory as a stage racer and Grand Tour rider was set in stone - something he has consolidated this year with victory at Paris-Nice and the Volta ao Algarve.
Leadership opportunities in the Grand Tours, however, are not necessarily easy to come by at Team Sky – not least at the Tour when Froome has signed until 2018 – and the question was asked whether the 30-year-old would look for a move away.
Though he didn't seriously consider a transfer for next year, Thomas recognised that extending with Team Sky for just one year keeps his options open, allowing him to move to a new team from 2018 if it would give him the best chance of realising his potential.
"I might feel a bit differently come next year – I might want more of a leadership role all year," he said.
"Basically If I felt I wanted to go and try to win or get a podium in the Tour, and I wasn't able to do that in this team because of Froomey or whatever, it just gives me that chance to go to another team and try and do that.
"I'm not saying I'm going to go and podium at the Tour but, as an athlete, you always want do the best you can. If I got to the point where I was like 'I want to go to the Tour and try to get the best result for myself' – whether that's a top 10 or a top 5 or a podium – it's just keeping that option if that's how I felt."
While that picture will become clearer over the next 12 months, Thomas was in little doubt that Team Sky is the best place for him in the immediate future.
"I just felt that it [Sky] was definitely – for this year and next – the right place for me to continue to learn and grow as a rider," he said.
"I've only just started, you know trying to win stage races and things, and I just thought it was working and going really well, so why change it?"