Paris - 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
Kenyan-born Briton claim a seventh Grand Tour title and become the first
cyclist since 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 de France," lamented race
director Christian Prudhomme.
"And it definitely impacted the general
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 the haters.
Froome crashed twice in the opening nine stages, losing
precious time to Thomas that, when it came to deciding Sky's leadership
strategy ahead of key stages in the Pyrenees, would prove decisive.
After Thomas took possession of the yellow jersey with a
mountaintop victory at La Rosiere on stage 11, the Welshman secured a stunning
win atop Alpe d'Huez the next day.
From then on, Froome was virtually racing to make sure he
would feature on the final podium on the Champs Elysees.
Brailsford praised Froome's readiness to become a
'domestique' for Thomas, a sign of "a great champion".
But he admitted Froome had come to win.
"He won the Giro, which was quite something," said
"But he came here to win, not to podium."
He added: "The mark of a great champion is that he
fully accepted becoming a team helper once he realised he wasn't going to win
Post-Tour, however, Sky could have a dilemma.
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
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
"It's not for a rider to make those decisions."