Froome says Team Sky in ‘dream position’ and Thomas win would be ‘fantastic’

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Rivalry ‘doesn’t exist’ between me and Thomas – Froome

Chris Froome says he and Tour de France leader Geraint Thomas are in a “dream position” and it would be “fantastic” if his team-mate won this year’s race.

Four-time winner Froome, 33, is second overall, trailing fellow Team Sky rider Thomas by one minute 39 seconds after 15 stages.

There are six stages remaining, with the race ending in Paris on Sunday.

“As long as a Team Sky jersey crosses that line first in Paris, that’s winning,” Froome told BBC Sport.

“We’re in this dream position, first and second on the general classification – if nothing changed between here and Paris, fantastic, we’ve nailed the Tour de France.”

Froome said Thomas, 32, is currently the stronger of the two as the Welshman has ridden an “absolutely faultless race” to take the leader’s yellow jersey into the final week.

“Everyone is so keen to try and talk up this rivalry between myself and ‘G’, but it just doesn’t exist,” said Froome, who previously rode alongside Thomas at Barloworld.

“We’ve been team-mates and mates for years, our careers have followed each other, so this is an absolute dream scenario.

“We’re not looking at each other as rivals, we’re looking at the other guys in third, fourth, fifth – they are the ones who could put us under pressure.”

World time trial champion Tom Dumoulin is third overall, 11 seconds adrift of Froome, with Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic fourth, 2:38 down on Thomas. Romain Bardet is fifth, a further 43 seconds back.

Four of the six remaining stages are likely to determine the winner – three mountainous stages in the Pyrenees and an individual time trial on Saturday, when Dumoulin will be favourite. Thursday’s stage 18 is a flat course and the final day is a processional run to Paris.

“It’s about keeping those guys behind us, not riding against each other and letting somebody else win,” said Thomas.

“That would be the biggest hiccup in, well I don’t know about Tour history, but it would be pretty bad.”

Asked if he would attack in the Pyrenees, Froome said: “We can always talk hypothesis but that’s not how cycling works – you’ve just got to deal with the moment out on the road and the situation as best you can.”

In response to the same question, Thomas said it would “depend where Dumoulin is” and only if the Dutchman remains third but slips to 10 minutes back would the two Team Sky riders “maybe go man versus man and actually race each other”.

“That’s never going to happen so it’s all about just winning this race,” he added.

I’m in dreamland – Thomas

Thomas has held the yellow jersey since winning stage 11 at La Rosiere, before becoming the first Briton to win at the top of the famous Alpe d’Huez the following day.

Following those victories, Thomas – whose previous highest Tour finish is 15th – said “everything else is a bonus”.

“I’m in dreamland at the moment – there is no real pressure, I’m just enjoying it and having won back-to-back mountain stages is just insane,” he said.

“The longer I can stay up there with the main guys, great, but as long as one of us is on that top step in Paris, that’s the main thing.

“Obviously you have the odd thought that it would be nice to have this in Paris, but I soon forget about that because when you look at the racing we’ve got to do, there is a hell of a lot to come.”


Froome and Thomas – and their team-mates – faced the media in Carcassone on Monday

We’re trying to remain dignified – Brailsford

Team Sky riders have been booed and spat at during this year’s race, while Froome was pushed by a spectator on Alpe d’Huez.

The British outfit have detractors, both stemming from their recent dominance of the sport, and because of a recent anti-doping investigation into Froome, which was dropped in early July.

On Sunday, Team Sky’s Gianni Moscon was disqualified from the race for hitting another rider.

Speaking on Monday’s second rest day, Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford said spitting and booing seems to be “a French cultural thing”.

“The Tour de France is promoted as the world’s greatest annual sporting event and, if you want the best international riders to come to your country, maybe treat them with a little more respect,” he said.

Brailsford added he did not think the abuse directed at Team Sky would stop during the remainder of the race.

“We accept it and we have to make a decision about how to behave – we’re trying to remain dignified, we’re trying not to react and we’re trying not to get distracted by it,” he said.

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