UAE Team Emirates have signed Swiss rider Tom Bohli on a two-year deal.
The 24-year-old, who joins from BMC Racing, will bring his impressive skills as rouleur and time trialist to the Emirati formation for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Since turning professional in 2016, the Rieden native has clinched victory at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, as well as stage wins at Eneco Tour (2016) and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2017). He also took third at the Swiss National Road Championships in May.
“I’m excited about my move to UAE Team Emirates,” said Bohli.
“For the first time in my career I’m changing jerseys, joining a sports group that’s quite different than the one I grew up in.
“I know I’m going to find a highly professional atmosphere founded upon an important project; I’m sure the conditions will be perfect for me to give my best.”
Thomas, who succeeded four-time winner Froome in the Tour’s yellow jersey in July, has agreed a new three-year contract with the British team which expires in 2021.
The Welshman says there are no leadership guarantees in the contract, but he believes, just like in July, he will be given opportunities if he proves capable.
“As long as I am good enough, I will get those chances like this year,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be the leader if I wasn’t flying. That is not in my character. I am happy.”
Thomas has been with Team Sky since their inception in 2010.
“It was good to finally get it signed and sorted,” he added. “I am really happy. Obviously I listened to other teams and things.
“(But) at the end of the day, I sat down and thought about it properly. I feel at home with the team. This is the best place for me to be at my best. Why change it?”
The contract was announced ahead of the final stage of the Tour of Britain in central London on Sunday.
Both Thomas and Froome completed their gruelling seasons at the race.
Froome, who won May’s Giro d’Italia and was runner-up in France to Thomas, has made no secret of his wish to target a record-equalling fifth Tour.
Froome said: “It’s not competition. It just makes the team stronger.
“It’s something to worry about for our rivals. Now they’ve got to race two of us, not just one.
“It worked this year. It made it even better for us having two guys up there and we ended up with two guys on the podium in Paris. Happy days.”
Thomas is a two-time Olympic champion on the track, winning team pursuit gold at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics.
After prioritising the track in 2012, missing Sir Bradley Wiggins’ first Tour win by a Briton, Thomas became an integral team-mate of Froome as he won the 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Tours.
Although he will be 35 by the end of the contract, Thomas does not believe the deal will be his last.
“I definitely feel like I have a few more years left in me, for sure,” he said. “I have always said from the start, it feels like every year I am getting better and better.
“The track years certainly prolonged that. We will see.”
Britain’s Simon Yates reclaimed overall leadership of La Vuelta with victory on the final climb of stage 14 to Les Praeres.
Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates had seen Jesus Herrada take the red jersey earlier in the week, but the Spaniard’s challenge faded over the closing 30 kilometres of Saturday’s gruelling trek.
Yates made his move with some 700 metres to go, breaking clear with neither Miguel Angel Lopez or Alejandro Valverde able to respond – both finishing two seconds behind the stage winner.
The well-crafted victory sees the Briton move into a 20-second overall lead ahead of Movistar rider Valverde, with Nairo Quintana, who could only manage fifth on the final climb, down in third place five seconds further back.
Earlier in the 171km mountain route from Cistierna to Nava, there had been a six-man breakaway which included Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski, with the lead on the peloton up to around three minutes and 43 seconds heading into the final 75km.
Herrada struggled to keep up the place and dropped into a split chasing pack.
Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) made a move heading into the last 4km, but could not sustain the pace before Yates timed his attack to perfection on the steep slopes. Colombian Lopez crossed second, just ahead of Valverde.
Team Sky’s Dylan van Baarle, meanwhile, had been forced to abandon the race ahead of Saturday’s start after suffering a groin injury in a crash following the finish of stage 12, when he had placed second.
Sunday will see another mountain stage over 185.5km from Ribera de Arriba to the Lakes of Covadonga.