Cycling - Geraint Thomas: I can fill Cavendish void at Sky

Double Olympic champion Geraint Thomas believes he can be the one to fill the void left by a departing Mark Cavendish in Team Sky's ranks.

Welshman Thomas skipped the 2012 Tour de France with his mind firmly focussed on helping Great Britain defend their team sprint pursuit gold medal at the London Olympics - which he achieved.

And while he was training on the track he watched as compatriot Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour, aided by Cavendish.

However, Cavendish was left frustrated that his sprinting ambitions came second to Wiggins' bid for victory and left Team Sky last month, joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

But despite admitting his sadness at seeing the back of Cavendish, Thomas insists it could free him up as he returns to the road.

"It's sad to see him [Cavendish] go because he's the best sprinter in the world. But from an individual point of view it frees me to do other things," said the 26-year-old.

"Next year the classics at the end of March and the start of April are my big individual goals really.

"Then I want to go the Tour and help Brad or [Chris] Froome, whoever the lead will be next year, and hopefully try and win another yellow jersey.

"I'm really looking forward to getting onto that start line and battling for the overall win again."

As far as next year's Tour de France is concerned, whether Wiggins will defend his title is yet to be decided while many feel the mountainous course and shorter time trial stages suits Froome better.

But Thomas isn't concerned as to who the team rider ends up being.

"I think it gets hyped: 'It's a climbers' course, it's this and that,'" added Thomas.

"But you still go up mountains, you still have long time trials. There's still danger in sickness and injury and a lot of things come into it.

"It depends what Brad decides to do. I've heard rumours that he might target other races and go to the Tour to help Froome.

"He [Wiggins] put a lot of work into winning that Tour. The last few years, he's lived like a monk.

"He's been away from his family, he's missed kids' birthdays and there's only so long you can do that before you want a bit of family life again.

"We'll see [who leads the team], but whoever it is I can't wait to go there and ride for them and battle for that win."