Chris Froome backs Tadej Pogačar to wrap up Tour de France: 'He's got it in the bag'

The Briton has been recovering from an opening day crash and has been pleased with his progress

Chris Froome
(Image credit: Getty)

Chris Froome has insisted that the winner of the 2021 Tour de France has already been decided.

As the race resumes following its second and final rest day, Tadej Pogačar of UAE-Team Emirates leads the race by by 5-18 from Rigoberto Urán of EF Education - Nippo. 

Three consecutive mountain days in the Pyrenees, including back-to-back summit finishes, looks set to determine the direction of the final general classification ahead of Saturday's final time trial.

Froome, who has won the Tour four times since 2013, has been impressed with Pogačar's handling of the race and can't see how the Slovenian won't win his second yellow jersey.

"I’d say that if Pogačar can stay on his bike, the GC is over," Froome said. "He’s showed so much maturity. I think this one is in the bag for him."

Froome has been riding as road captain for Israel Start-Up Nation but suffered a hard fall on stage one and spent several hours in hospital.

He didn't suffer any breaks or fractures and was passed fit to race, and despite painfully battling through the days in the immediate aftermath of his fall, he has now recovered to a sufficient level that he is able to feel the benefits of the racing now.

"There's no doubt it's been rough on the body with the crash on day one," the 36-year-old told ITV before the start of stage 16.

"I've been trying to gather myself again after that. All in all, it's has been a really good experience being here.

"This racing alone will have helped me. I feel as if the accelerations in the bunch and being on the wheel are starting to feel a lot easier.

"And that's the thing I have been battling the most with this year.

"It's been a worthwhile experience up until this point being here.

"Hopefully this last week will bump me up even more."

>>> Get to know Ben O'Connor: Australia's humble rider pushing for an historic podium

Froome, who is expected to race the Vuelta a España in August, has been supporting his team-mates in the race, an unfamiliar role given his past successes.

His team leader Michael Woods was in the King of the Mountains jersey but now sits eight points adrift of the current leaders in the mountains classification, Wout Poels. 

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.