Ineos Grenadiers manager Dave Brailsford says his relationship with Chris Froome both professionally and personally are “fine” despite omitting him from the line-up for this year’s Tour de France.
The 56-year-old reiterated to the BBC that Froome needed more time to recover his form after returning from serious injuries he suffered in last year’s Criterum du Dauphine.
Froome’s last Grand Tour for the team will be attempting to win his third Vuelta a Espana from October 20 to November 8.
This year’s Tour de France gets underway in Nice on Saturday and runs till September 20.
Froome broke his neck, femur, elbow, hip and ribs in the crash last year and although he rode in this year’s Criterium du Dauphine the 35-year-old rider admitted he was not in good enough form to ride in the Tour.
“We have given Chris a bit longer to continue his recovery,” said Brailsford. “We looked at everything we can do to support his training programme and our relationship is as good as ever.
“We have a professional relationship and a personal relationship, and on both fronts, we are absolutely fine.
“Chris had a horrific accident last year and he has done amazingly well to come back and be able to compete at the highest end of professional cycling.”
Brailsford said he would continue his tradition of developing British talent — six of the team’s seven victories in the past eight Tour de France’s were thanks to a British rider.
Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour winner, has also been omitted from the Tour de France team and the 34-year-old will bid for glory in the Giro d’Italia from October 3-25.
“Geraint has already won the Tour de France but we want to get the Tour of Italy under his belt to join up with his yellow jersey,” said Brailsford. “So we have reallocated our resources and we feel like we have all of the big races covered this year.”
However, Brailsford points to the signing of Adam Yates for next season as proof of his retaining faith in British riding talent for the long term.
He insists they are “really going to invest in the next generation”.
“We have had a cohort of British riders that we have worked with for 10 years and they have developed at the highest level and given us great success,” said Brailsford.
“It is time to turn back into British cycling and to identify some of the great young talent dotted around in various teams and academy programmes.
“We have signed Adam Yates from another team, who has been fourth in the Tour de France already.”