Bradley Wiggins is backing Chris Froome to win a fifth Tour de France title but not this season, picking Geraint Thomas as his choice for 2020 Tour.
“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,” Wiggins said.
“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.”
“I knew he was thinking of changing teams, I think he needed to really, I think he’s got a lot more in the tank, if he wants it. 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.
“I know they don’t make decisions lightly, Chris and his team, so he would have put a lot of thought into it and it’s a brave move because there is no certainty in it at all. I see it as such a positive thing, and he’s really looking to go for that fifth Tour de France.”
Wiggins also believes defending champion Egan Bernal would have lost last year’s race had it not been for extreme weather shortening the stage.
“Last year, Geraint Thomas was the defending champion at the Tour de France and Bernal was allowed to shine,” he explained. “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.” Wiggins added.