Froome is targeting a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey this year with the British WorldTour squad, as he returns from a horrific leg break suffered in 2019.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
While Froome has previously said he’s back to his best, the head of technical operations and commercial Carsten Jeppesen has his doubts.
Jeppesen told Danish broadcaster TV 2 Sport: “There is no doubt that he has put a lot of work into it – and as always Chris has been a fantastic athlete and incredibly dedicated. I do not believe anyone has trained as hard during this coronavirus crisis as he has.
“But I’m not 100 per cent sure that he will be so ready that he is where he needs to be to be able to win.”
Froome has been on the long road to recovery after an awful crash suffered at the Critérium du Dauphiné last summer, which took him out of racing for the rest of the season.
After multiple operations and a long rehabilitation process, Froome re-joined the peloton at the UAE Tour in February, just as racing was suspended due to coronavirus.
The postponement of the Tour de France has given the 35-year-old more time to recover, as he believes he is fit for another shot at the yellow.
But Froome’s position in Team Ineos is not as strong as it once was, as Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas have both emerged as Tour victors in the last two years, while Froome is also leaving Team Ineos after more than a decade.
His departure for Israel Start-Up Nation at the end of the season has raised questions about whether Ineos will take Froome to the 2020 Tour at all.
On the leadership question, Jeppesen said: “A lot has happened since Froome won last. We have won the Tour with both Geraint and Egan, and Froome has grown older and was in a very serious crash last year.
“We have known Chris and worked with him for many years and if there’s one thing you can say about him, it’s that he’s a professional.
“I really think they all have so much respect for each other that it’s not a problem.”