How will the Tour de France change without Chris Froome?

Is the race more open or lacking something with the absence of the four-time winner?

(Image credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

Barring another major disaster for Team Ineos, Geraint Thomas will line-up in Brussels in July as defending champion of the Tour de France. That's a saving grace for the race - Grand Tours that don't feature last year's winner often feel like they're lacking something.

Even so, the loss of Chris Froome to injury could be a real hammer blow, whether you like him or not. Many don't - his gangly, head down style behind a line of super-domestiques just isn't what a bike race should look like to their minds. Froome and his team have dominated the Grand Tours in the last eight years though, and without him this Tour will definitely feel different.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).