Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas still possess “enough quality to win any race”, according to two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.
Froome (Israel–Premier Tech) has disappeared as a force since his career-threatening crash in 2019, while Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) has also struggled to live up to the hype in recent seasons.
Froome won the Tour four times between 2013 and 2017, while Thomas triumphed at the 2018 edition. Neither has made the podium at a Grand Tour since 2019.
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Thomas, who is expected to lead Ineos at the Tour in July, finished 19th at the five-stage Tour of Romandie on Monday – 3’28” down on winner Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe). Froome fared worse, finishing 65th.
The British pair have been usurped by Slovenian double-act Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) as the strongest forces in the peloton. Pogacar has won the last two Tour de France titles, while Roglic ran him close at the 2020 edition and boasts three Vuelta wins on the spin.
However, Warner Bros. Discovery cycling expert Contador still believes Froome, 36, and Thomas, 35, can return to the top step of the podium at the biggest races.
“They are both great cyclists who have won races like the Tour,” said Contador.
“They have great quality, but it is true that the results of the last two seasons are not the best to think that they can be favourites.
“However, they have more than enough qualities to win any race.''

Geraint Thomas (L) and Chris Froome at the 2021 Tour de France

Image credit: Getty Images

Grand Tour racing returns on Friday with the Giro d’Italia as the likes of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange – Jayco) battle it out for pink.
But Contador believes another name could be in contention for victory: Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). The Dutchman is famed for his explosive one-day prowess but is yet to finish a Grand Tour.
“It's always a game of chance,” said Contador.
“But I think Joao Almeida, Richard Carapaz and I think Mathieu Van der Poel will be in contention for the top three places in the standings, although I don't know the order but I think the three of them have a little bit more chance than the rest.”
He continued: “I expect to see a lot of surprises in this year's edition. From my experience in the race, the most important thing is to be a regular competitor.
“It's not necessary to be the best, but to not fail and to be regular, especially in the mountain stages. If you do that, you're already assured of a good place in the general classification. If you make a mistake in the Giro, you lose minutes, not tenths or seconds in the classification.
“That's why I think the most important thing is for the group of favourites to concentrate on not making mistakes. Carapaz and [Vincenzo] Nibali are two experts as well as Simon Yates, Mikel Landa or Almeida himself will fight at a high level and it will be a very attractive competition for the audience.''
Contador also reflected on the differences between the Giro and the Tour and La Vuelta.
“The most special thing about the Giro is that it's a race that is lived more on a day-to-day basis and the favourites have to compete on a 1:1 basis, unlike the Tour de France or La Vuelta. There are less obstacles than in the Giro d'Italia,” he added.
“Another important element is that the Giro d'Italia requires the rider to adapt as much as possible to the weather conditions, which practically makes it a matter of survival.”
The Giro begins in Budapest on May 6 and finishes in Verona on May 29.

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Stream the Giro d'Italia live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
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