Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France victory has not dented Chris Froome’s hopes of a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey, says Sky chief Dave Brailsford.
“He wants to win a fifth Tour, no doubt. He’ll be back, it’s a part of him and I think he can do it,” Brailsford said.
Froome, a four-time winner, was hoping to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain on an elite list of five-time winners on Sunday.
Victory on the Champs Elysees would also have seen the Kenya-born Briton claim a seventh Grand Tour title and become the first cyclist since the deceased Italian Marco Pantani, in 1998, to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same calendar year.
Yet Froome’s efforts in winning the Giro d’Italia last May, and his implication in a long-running anti-doping probe, appeared to become key factors as the normally unshakable 33-year-old’s bid went from bad to worse.
Froome was only cleared to race by the International Cycling Union (UCI) days before the Tour, but nearly 10 months after an “adverse analytical finding” for salbutamol during his Tour of Spain victory in 2017, the fallout created plenty of controversy.
“The answer we’d been waiting on for six months finally came five days before the start of the Tour,” lamented race director Christian Prudhomme. “And it definitely impacted the general atmosphere.”
Froome’s Grand Tour success has invited detractors and fans alike from a sport known for scandal and disgrace.
And when Sky were booed on the podium at the teams’ presentation, it set the tone for the rest of a race in which the British outfit were targeted by haters.
Froome still has another two years on his contract, while Thomas has yet to re-sign with the British outfit.
Adding spice is the fact Sky already boast a potential future Tour champion in 21-year-old Egan Bernal, the Colombian sensation who was hugely impressive on his race debut.
“Naturally I’ve had a few emotions throughout this race,” said Froome.
“Moments of disappointment, crashing, moments of joy, when we’ve won stages or taken the yellow jersey. That’s bike racing. Like any Grand Tour, this has been a rollercoaster.”
But asked how he expects Team Sky to choose a team leader for next year’s race, Froome replied: “That’s a question for team management, really. It’s not for a rider to make those decisions.”