Geraint Thomas can lead Team Sky in future - Sir Dave Brailsford
Welshman Geraint Thomas could lead Team Sky in Grand Tours in the future, says team principal Sir Dave Brailsford.
Thomas, 29, and fellow Welsh cyclist Luke Rowe are part of the nine-man team that will support 2013 champion Chris Froome in the 2015 Tour de France.
Brailsford said: "Geraint is going from strength to strength.
"His opportunity to ride Grand Tours, try and lead the team at stage races is becoming clear - that's the way it's going to go."
He said "nobody knows" the limit of Thomas' talent and that he was "a very exciting prospect".
Thomas became the first British rider to win one of the hardest races on the professional circuit - the formidable E3 Harelbeke race in Belgium - in March this year.
In early June he finished second in the Tour de Suisse, finishing five seconds behind Simon Spilak, and Brailsford says Team Sky will try to protect the "versatile" Thomas.
Brailsford confirmed he would be discussing Thomas' growing role in the team with the double Olympic pursuit champion, who will be competing in his sixth Tour this year.
"I'm a very big believer in ownership," Brailsford told BBC Radio Wales Sport.
"You can tell people what to do but if they believe in it, they are part of the decision-making process, they buy into it more.
"In my opinion that's the way to go, so that will very much be a discussion with Geraint.
"He's one of the world's most versatile riders.
"The challenge for Geraint is that he can get dragged in to helping out in all scenarios.
"The key for us as a team this year is to make sure we use his specific skills that we want to use in a certain area and give him the protection he deserves and give him the opportunity."