Geraint Thomas: Team Sky will stay together despite loss of sponsorship

Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas believes Team Sky will stay together despite Sky's decision to end its involvement in cycling after the 2019 season.

The British team have won eight Grand Tours and have provided six of the last seven winners of the Tour de France since they were formed by principle Dave Brailsford in 2009, but Sky announced on Wednesday that it would withdraw its sponsorship at the end of next year. However the team could continue under another name if a new sponsor is found by 2020.

There has been speculation that Thomas, who became Team Sky's third winner of the Tour in July, could move on following Sky's departure but speaking to the media for the first time since Wednesday's announcement, the Welshman said he hopes the team can live on without its main sponsor.

"Obviously it was a shock and it was disappointing to start with but I think when you sit back and look at it, 10 years is a long time as a main title sponsor in cycling," Thomas said.

"It's been an incredible nine years so far and we want to really go out on a high and make it the last and the best year yet [next season]. But we're still confident in Dave and the team that they can continue that and keep the team together.

"You see a lot of other teams who might lose title sponsors but they continue to go. Movistar, for instance, that core has been together for 30-odd years [under different sponsors]. So it's certainly not the end. It's also kind of exciting at the same time."

Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France champion and Thomas' Team Sky teammate, has also been tipped to join a new team but insisted that a successful 2019 would attract new investment.

"I think we've got the remain optimistic and not lose focus on what we are trying to do," Froome said. "We've obviously got big goals next year to win a lot of bike races and for me personally my target will be on the Tour de France.

"I've got every confidence that if we can have a season next year that's been similar to previous seasons we'll be able to find another sponsor."

Team Sky stated on Wednesday that there were "no guarantees" on what could happen from 2020, but they would be looking to be looking to formulate a plan ahead of the Tour de France next July. Team principle Brailsford added that he was confident he could retain his big names next year.

"I've spoken to them [Thomas and Froome] and their reaction has been fantastic," Brailsford said. "They showed why they're not only big champions on the bike but they're big champions off the bike. They're very supportive and I think together we'll see if we can build a new future."