'No problem' for Chris Froome in lining up with Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal at Tour de France

The four-time Tour winner says his rivals should be the ones more worried with three potential leaders of Team Ineos

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Chris Froome see "no problem" racing alongside 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and rising star Egan Bernal – his Ineos team-mates – as he attempts to win a fifth title next month.

Froome – winner in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 – will lead the team with Welshman Thomas. The two are joined by 22-year-old Colombian Bernal, who has already won Paris-Nice this year.

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"That's no problem," Froome said when asked by Sporza about racing the Tour with three stars. "It will be more of a problem for our rivals."

Ineos will complete its eight-man Tour roster in the coming weeks, with the race starting on July 6 in Brussels with a sprint stage.

Bernal has not raced since placing third in the Volta a Cataluyna at the end of March. Ahead of that, he won Paris-Nice ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

He was due to debut in the Giro d'Italia as Ineos's leader but a crash and fractured collarbone ruled him out. He now is training in Andorra to be ready to return to the Tour after his debut in 2018.

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome at the 2018 Tour de France (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Thomas won the Tour last year after showing stronger than Froome in the first Alpine stages. Froome then helped him and placed third overall.

"Geraint and I train together almost every day, at training camps in Tenerife and at home in Monaco," Froome said. "We have been good friends for 10 years."

Froome and Thomas will decide who is the strongest for the Ineos victory. Froome, however, wants to eventually reach the record of five Tour wins to join the greats Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain.

"I am worried about [the Tour] all the time. In the past weeks we have also done a lot of recon of the stages," he continued.

"It would be very special to get into that club of riders who have won the Tour five times."

Last year, Froome aimed for and won the Giro d'Italia, completing a win streak of three Grand Tours: the 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta a España, and the 2018 Giro d'Italia. At the Tour, he "only" managed third overall.

For 2019, he is back to the same approach that saw him win the Tour in 2017, racing in the Critérium du Dauphiné as his last competitive outing before the Tour.

On stage two, he broke clear with other classification favourites including Jakob Fuglsang (Team Astana), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Quintana.

"Now, I am a lot fresher than last year. I had three Grand Tours in a row [last year at this time.] Now, the Tour is my first Grand Tour of the season," Froome added.

"Of course, I want to win the Dauphiné again. I think it's possible with my shape.

"I don't expect that it will be easy. There are a lot of good classification riders at the start. The level will be very high."

The 34-year-old Brit won the Critérium du Dauphiné overall in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The race ends on Sunday. Thomas instead is racing the Tour de Suisse, which begins on Saturday.

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