‘Froome can be force for years to come’

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Froome reflects on ‘incredible’ fourth Tour win

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome will be a “force” in the race for years to come, says Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford.

Briton Froome, 32, sealed his fourth title and third in succession on Sunday’s final stage in Paris.

The record for most Tour titles won is five, held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

“Chris can go on – there’s no reason to think that he can’t,” said Brailsford.

“Physically he’s got what it takes and I don’t think that’s going to diminish in the next year or so.”

Brailsford added that Froome’s chances of winning more Tour titles were a question of “hunger and mentality” and that the Team Sky rider was “as hungry as ever”.

“He’s getting better tactically and technically, so as long as that hunger continues and he keeps his health, then he’ll be a force in this race for a good couple of seasons to come,” Brailsford told ITV4.

‘It’s not a popularity contest’

In the three previous years in which he won the Tour – 2013, 2015 and 2016 – Froome has never finished higher than sixth in voting for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, failing to make 16-strong shortlist last year.

Froome was jeered by some fans during this year’s Tour and claimed he had urine thrown at him in the 2015 race.

“I don’t think it’s a popularity contest,” said Brailsford.

“You’ve got to look at the sporting achievement and Chris is right up there with the greats now, there is no denying it.

“He’ll be thinking about the respect amongst his peers in terms of what he’s achieved and how he’s achieved it and he’s got the utmost respect from them.

“He deserves all the accolades he gets and I’m proud of Chris Froome – he’s a great ambassador for the sport and a great ambassador for Team Sky and I’m sure a lot of people think the same.”

Team Sky have now won five of the past six Tours following Sir Bradley Wiggins’ victory in 2012.

“This is the greatest victory I’ve been involved in and definitely the most satisfying,” Brailsford told BBC Radio 5 live.

‘Our friendliest Tour’

Both Wiggins and Froome have been subject to scrutiny and asked questions about doping at times during their Tour wins.

Since Froome’s third Tour win in 2016, there has also been more widespread criticism of Team Sky and their principal Brailsford.

The former performance director of British Cycling has been questioned over the contents of a medical package sent to Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 and the team criticised for the use of therapeutic use exemptions.

Brailsford also apologised for a “foul-mouthed exchange” with a reporter during this year’s Tour.

However, Brailsford claimed that this year’s race had been his team’s “friendliest” Tour de France.

“What has been interesting is there have been no difficult questions coming Chris Froome’s way this year, there have been no challenges like we’ve had in other years,” he added.

“In that sense I think that’s a really good sign where we’re at as a sport and where he’s at.”

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