Chris Froome has been hailed as the best Tour de France rider of his generation by Bradley Wiggins.
The four-time champion got his 10th Tour campaign underway on Friday in Israel-Premier Tech colours, with the 37-year-old hoping for his best outing since his horror crash at the 2019 Dauphine.
As Froome rolled around the wet streets of Copenhagen for the short Stage 1 time trial, Wiggins resumed his role on the back of a motorbike for Eurosport and spoke highly of his former team-mate.
“Is he going to do it [win another Tour]?” began Wiggins on Brad on a Bike.
“He hasn’t shown that sort of form over the last couple of years. But this man, never underestimate him. I’ve said it a few times – the day you underestimate Chris Froome, he comes out and does something at your peril.
“He wants to put in a good performance to show that physically he’s up there and capable of getting back to the Chris Froome we know of old.
“Wouldn’t it be great to see this man win a fifth Tour, the greatest Tour rider of our generation.”
He has been stranded on four yellow jerseys since 2017, with the 37-year-old still on the comeback trail from his freak crash three years ago. Froome fractured his neck, femur, hip, elbow and ribs and was out of competitive action for eight months.
He will largely ride in support of Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang in France, 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. Since the Lance Armstrong-wiped years (1999-2005), no one has won the Tour as often as Froome.
“It’s a strange one. You have to question Patrick Lefevere’s selection. No [Julian] Alaphilippe, we can understand that, he’s still recovering from his crash at Liege-Bastogne-Liege,” said Wiggins.
“But Mark Cavendish? He’s won Milano-Torino this year, a stage of the Giro d’Italia, [he’s] British champion. It’s one of the years you would expect him to be on the start line. He’s been on the start line in other years when maybe his form wasn’t up to scratch.
“But the Tour de France and Mark Cavendish go hand-in-hand and he’s part of the fabric of this race, green jersey winner last year and it’s a crying shame he’s not in the race this year.”
Wiggins added: “He would have won a stage, wouldn’t he.”
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