Bradley Wiggins admits he finds it “hard to believe” Chris Froome will ever win a fifth Tour de France title – but says the simple fact his former team-mate believes is enough to suggest it is possible.
Froome was named in Israel-Premier Tech’s eight-strong team for the Tour on Thursday.
He has been stranded on four yellow jerseys since 2017, with the 37-year-old still on the comeback trail from his freak crash at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2019. Froome fractured his neck, femur, hip, elbow and ribs and was out of competitive action for eight months.
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Froome will largely ride in support of Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang in France next month, although he may have license to attack with Israel-Premier Tech targeting stage wins rather than the general classification.
However, he remains steadfast in his belief that he can join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain on a record-equalling five Tour titles.
When asked by Eurosport during a call with journalists whether Froome could ever feasibly win another yellow jersey, Wiggins said: “I maybe don’t believe it, I find it hard to believe watching him.
“But that’s what makes him a great athlete and if Chris Froome believes it, that’s all that matters.
“And the fact he’s said that [ambitions to win TDF again], I wouldn’t put it past him. That’s the mark of a great champion.
“I’ve said in the past that you never write him off because the fact he’s saying that, knowing he might look stupid if he doesn’t, means he’s serious about what he’s doing. That’s the defining marker of a great athlete.”
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Froome won the Tour four times between 2013 and 2017 during Team Sky’s golden years, but his hopes of winning the world’s biggest bike race again look beyond him – especially given the rise of Slovenian superstars Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
“It’s awesome to be starting my 10th Tour de France with Israel-Premier Tech,” said Froome.
“I’ve worked exceptionally hard this year and I’m looking forward to giving it my all. We’ve got a great group of riders in the line-up and we can’t wait for the battle to begin in Copenhagen.”
He has consistently hit back at critics who think his career is already over, saying he uses their doubts as motivation.
He produced the best performance of his comeback at the Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes in May, finishing 11th after sticking with the lead group into the final climb.
Froome ‘one step closer to old self’ after impressing at Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes
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