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Team Sky’s Chris Froome admits the absence of Sir Bradley Wiggins in this summer’s Tour de France is a blow to his chances of claiming crown.
The two riders were set to compete for the title until Wiggins was pulled out of the race due to a knee injury. Wiggins’ withdrawal ended ongoing speculation about who would lead the team with Froome given the nod by principal Sir Dave Brailsford.
Froome will go into the Tour as the clear favourite after a fantastic season so far. The 28-year-old won the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine and showed his closest rivals just what he can do in the mountains.
The Kenyan-born rider is confident the team have enough quality to mount a serious challenge but admits that losing Wiggins is a blow due to his class and experience.
Froome said: “So far this year I feel we have ticked all the right boxes in the build-up to the Tour de France. Having Brad would have added a huge element to the strength of the team, but I do believe we have got all our bases covered with the riders we do have.
“He wanted to focus on the Giro d’Italia this year. Unfortunately, that didn’t go to plan. I am sure he will bounce back and be targeting other races for later on in the season.
“We are not just talking about some neo-pro. He is the guy who won the Tour de France last year. He knows what he is doing and I have no doubt he will be back.”