Sir Bradley Wiggins says the Ineos team have to take Chris Froome to this month’s Tour de France – even if he leaves them at the end of the season.
Froome, 35, is fighting for a place in Ineos’ eight-man squad for the race which begins on August 29, with Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal – the respective 2018 and 2019 winners – also on their roster.
But Wiggins believes his former boss Sir Dave Brailsford should select Froome, a quadruple Tour champion, who missed last year’s race due to injury, for the last time before joining Israel Start-Up Nation. at the end of the year.
Sir Bradley Wiggins says Team Ineos must take Chris Froome to this month’s Tour de France
Wiggins (middle) says Froome should be picked despite leaving at end of season
“I guess Chris Froome won’t be level this year to win the Tour de France, I think it could take another year of racing,” admitted Wiggins, who was the first Briton to win the race in 2012.
But I think he has a place in this team. I would take him purely based on what he did for this team. He has been the face of this team for several years now. I also think Chris will be the first to say he’s going to help his teammates.
Froome is currently competing in the four-day Route D’Occitanie in France in what some consider a jump-off with Bernal to be selected as one of the two leading drivers.
Sir Dave Brailsford to select an eight-man squad for the race starting August 29
He’ll swap teams at the end of the year, when his Ineos contracts expire – and Wiggins believes the change will increase his chances of winning a record-breaking Fifth Round.
“I knew he was considering a change of teams and I think he had to,” Wiggins said on his Eurosport podcast.
He has a fifth Tour de France in him and he was obviously wondering if he would have this opportunity again at Ineos.
By changing teams, he probably gave himself the best chance of winning this fifth round. He would have thought about it a lot and it is a brave move because there is no certainty – but I see it as such a positive thing.
Froome could run for Ineos for the last time before joining Israel Start-Up Nation later this year
Whether or not Froome is at the start line of the Tour this summer, Wiggins backed Welshman Thomas to repeat his 2018 success.
“Bernal was cleared to win the Tour de France last year, with Geraint as the defending champion, so the same should apply the other way around this year,” Wiggins added.
“So Geraint is set to win the race this year and I actually think Geraint will win the Tour de France this year – no doubt about that. “
You can find Sir Bradley Wiggins’ podcast with Eurosport here