Sir Bradley Wiggins says Chris Froome is still his favourite to win the Tour de France, despite a slow start to 2019.
Froome has suffered crashes and fatigue in the early season as he targets a fifth Tour victory.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
But Wiggins, the first Brit to win the yellow jersey, says Froome will not be phased by the setbacks.
Speaking on his podcast, The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport, Wiggins said: “He’s probably the greatest Tour rider of our generation and my favourite for the Tour de France this year.
“He’s the old master at this now, he knows how to prepare to win a Grand Tour.
“People will look at him and judge him, but I don’t think this will really concern him at this stage.”
Team Sky leader Froome started his season at the Tour Colombia in January, where he finished 91st overall but supported team-mate Ivan Sosa to second and Egan Bernal to fourth.
He then pulled out of the UAE Tour before the start, citing fatigue after racing and training at altitude in Colombia.
The 33-year-old’s second race of the year was the Volta a Catalunya, where he lost 14 minutes on stage two after a crash.
Froome was involved in a collision 35km from the line and was left isolated as he tried to chase back on with a group of five other riders.
But he finished well down, taking him out of contention for the general classification.
Sky said the plan had always been for Froome to support Bernal, who finished third overall in Catalunya.
Wiggins added: “He doesn’t actually give a s*** to be honest, his mental resilience is amazing.
“Most athletes at this level you’ve got to be a bit of c***.
“He’s able to focus on what he does, with [his family’s] support, and just be self-centred, selfish and get the job done and he does that year after year.”