03 August 2020

Bradley Wiggins backs Chris Froome to win fifth Tour de France title but believes Geraint Thomas will triumph this year

Britain’s first Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins believes Chris Froome can win a fifth title before the end of his career, but believes Geraint Thomas is best placed to clinch this year’s race.

Froome helped Wiggins to his Tour title in 2012 as a part of Team Sky and then went on to win four himself in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

(L-R) Bernal, Thomas and Froome are all winners of the Tour (PA Images)

Then in 2018, fellow Sky teammate Thomas won the race as Froome had to settle for third place on the podium.

And then last year Froome suffered a serious crash in the build-up to the Tour, effectively ending his 2019 season.

Another of his teammates, Egan Bernal, then went on to become the youngest rider in more than 100 years to win the race at the aged of just 22, with Thomas finishing second.

It was announced recently that Froome will be leaving Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky) at the end of this season, a move Wiggins sees as a sign of intent that he is hungry for more Tour success.

Speaking on his Eurosport podcast The Bradley Wiggins Show, he said: "I don’t put anything past him, he can win another Tour, for me. I don’t know if he does want it, though, but by changing teams, that’s the biggest statement he’s made.

"I think, on his day, he could still surpass certainly Bernal and maybe Geraint. He’s got a fifth Tour de France in him, and he was obviously thinking whether he would ever get that opportunity again at Ineos. By changing teams, he has probably given himself the best chance to win that fifth Tour.

“Last year, Geraint Thomas was the defending champion at the Tour de France and Bernal was allowed to shine. I think had we had the stage to Tignes completed last year, I think Bernal would have cracked and Geraint would have won the Tour that day.

"Now you’d have to say, because Bernal was allowed to win the Tour de France last year, with Geraint as defending champion, the same should apply the other way around this year and Bernal is not granted that automatic right to defend the race. So Geraint is open to win the race this year and I actually think Geraint will win the Tour de France this year, no question about it, I don’t think there is an argument within that team.

“I would guess that Chris Froome won’t be at the level this year to win the Tour de France, I think it might take another year of racing but who knows with Chris, I wouldn’t put anything past him. I do think he has a place in that team, I would take him purely based on what he has done for that team, he has been the face of that team for a number of years now. 

"I also think Chris will be the first in there to say he’s going to help his teammates, but for me it’s a two-pronged race for Ineos between Thomas and Bernal."

This year’s Tour has been delayed by two months due to the coronavirus pandemic and will now begin on August 29.

If Froome is to secure a fifth title, he will join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as the most decorated riders in the race’s history.

American Lance Armstrong previously held the record with seven victories before he was stripped of all his wins due to doping offences.

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