Thomas steps out of Froome's shadow to leave Team Sky with leadership quandary

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As the dust settles on the greatest moment of Geraint Thomas' career, Team Sky must now decide whether the time has come to review their team-leader responsibilities.

Heading into the Tour de France such a concept would have been unthinkable. Chris Froome was the three-time defending champion, had triumphed in four of the past five years and had celebrated victory in each of the past three Grand Tours, completing the Triple Crown at the Giro d'Italia in May.

A familiar scene was set. Froome, the leading actor, would begin a quest for a piece of record-equalling history by winning a fifth Tour. For Thomas, an all-too familiar supporting role - give your all for the team, but keep your own ambitions on the backburner.

It was a scenario with which Thomas was becoming uncomfortable. As early as December, the Welshman discussed the possibility that 2018 would be his last with Team Sky.

The idea of working around Froome's schedule was one that was obviously wearing thin when he said: "I certainly want to sit down and listen to what they've [other teams] got to say."

Team Sky's expert Tour plan was quickly laid to waste, though. Thomas initially remained loyal to Froome in the general classification battle and stuck to the script.

But it was evident from the outset that Thomas was the sharper man, that Froome's bid for a Tour-Giro double, one of the toughest feats in cycling last achieved 20 years ago by Marco Pantani, was a step too far.

By the time this iconic race reached the Alps it was evident the momentum was with Thomas and when he grabbed the yellow jersey atop La Rosiere he never looked back.

Thomas' climbing prowess to win the famous ascent of the Alpe d'Huez 24 hours later accentuated the shift in power and, despite continuing to tow the party line and insisting his efforts were in support of Froome, the sight of the Welshman pulling away from his team-mate and the rest of the general classification contenders on the Col de Portet in the closing stages of stage 17 were almost symbolic.

Team Sky will celebrate another dominant year at the Tour, they now account for six of the past seven victors starting with Bradley Wiggins taking the title in 2012, but when the party finishes they now face a very serious dilemma.

Essentially, do you stick with the status quo and build the big races around Froome, a rider who time after time has proven his ability to beat the best, and risk losing Thomas to a rival?

Or is the time now to give Thomas, the first Welshman to win the Tour, the leadership role he so dearly craves and deserves?

What is for sure is that the 32-year-old has no plans of riding off into the sunset after his crowning moment.

"[I'm] very much [looking to continue]. The hunger's still there. I'm not going anywhere just yet," he said on the podium.

"Big respect to Froomey. Obviously it could have been awkward, there could have been tension, but you were a great champion. I'll always have respect for you. Thanks a lot."

Thomas' ascension to Grand Tour champion is one to inspire dreams given his rise from hot prospect to trusty lieutenant to super domestique in the last eight years.

Clearly he has now established himself as someone capable of leading a team, so Team Sky must try to convince him to share duties with Froome.

If they can't, Thomas will be lured away to be the main man elsewhere. His signature will be the most sought after in the peloton.