British pay-TV broadcaster Sky has announced that it will withdraw from cycling at the end of 2019, bringing an end to their ownership and sponsorship of Team Sky.
Chris Froome, a four-time Tour de France victor who has also won the other two Grand Tours - the Vuelta a España and Giro D'Italia in Team Sky colours, was also involved in a high-profile drugs case before being cleared.
"But the end of 2019 is the right time for us to move on as we open a new chapter in Sky's story and turn our focus to different initiatives".
Froome, who like Thomas joined Team Sky for their first season in 2010, used Twitter to thank Sky for their backing to date and to express confidence in the future.
Other riders on Team Sky's books include current Tour de France victor Geraint Thomas, highly rated Colombian prospect Egan Bernal, Dutchman Wout Poels, England's Ian Stannard and Wales' Luke Rowe. A British parliamentary committee said earlier this year that Team Sky crossed "the ethical line" over the use of a therapeutic use exemption to allow Wiggins to take a powerful corticosteroid to prepare for the 2012 Tour.
Riders were told the news during their training camp in Mallorca, and were all smiles on social media during Wednesday's training ride, with Tour de France victor Geraint Thomas showing off his new bike on Instagram.
He added: 'It's been a pleasure and a privilege to have been on the journey with Team Sky and British Cycling right from the start.
The contents of the package have never been revealed with Team Sky, who have repeatedly denied wrongdoing, facing criticism over their supposed lack of medical records.
"We are not finished yet by any means", he wrote. "If we can find a new long-term partner to take the Team forward into a new era, then we will do so", the statement continued. Although Team Sky chairman Graham McWilliam insisted the decision was Sky's and did not come from the new owners, Brailsford claimed he had not in fact been surprised by the news given the change at the company. Few in the sport have been as committed financially as Sky.
"Team Sky has become a high-performing team on the road, clocking up success after success, including several victories at the Tour de France".
The team, which has won eight Grand Tours since 2012, will continue to race under a different name if a new sponsor is secured to provide funding from the beginning of 2020.
Sky confirmed on Wednesday that the next 12 months will be their last on the UCI World Tour, leaving the future Dave Brailsford's team unclear. "Comcast are aware and supportive of what we have chose to do, but this is our decision not theirs". "Everyone at Team Sky has got big ambitions for 2019 and this news has made us more determined than ever to make them happen".
The team was also investigated by the U.K. Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) over a "mystery package" ordered by former team doctor Richard Freeman and delivered to Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.
The team also had to defend its star rider Chris Froome when it was reported he had returned an adverse finding to a doping test at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, which he went on to win.