Froome ‘in remarkable spirits’ as INEOS attack Tour de France

Geraint Thomas is confident he can trust Egan Bernal as a Tour de France team-mate, with the injured Chris Froome having just returned home.

Chris Froome has returned home “in remarkable spirits” as his Team INEOS colleagues Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal turn their focus to the Tour de France.

Four-time champion Froome is missing the second Grand Tour of the season following fractures to his right femur, elbow and ribs sustained at the Criterium du Dauphine.

But INEOS boss Dave Brailsford revealed on the eve of the Tour on Friday that Froome has now been able to leave hospital and remains positive.

“It’s a big disappointment that Chris isn’t here and we wish him well on his road to recovery,” Brailsford told a news conference.

“He left hospital [on Thursday] and was transferred home. It’s a big step for him. He’s managed to put his feet on the floor for the first time in quite a long time.

“The guys here have been to visit him and they think that he’s in remarkable spirits for the situation that he’s found himself in. He’s adjusted to it.”

In the meantime, Thomas and Bernal will lead the way.

Thomas is the defending general classification champion, having edged out Froome, who finished third, last year, and he is confident of a good working relationship with Bernal.

“We’re not rivals,” the Welshman said of Bernal. “I know him less well but I still get on with him really well.

“He can speak English, which is a massive plus, and he’s a really humble, family-orientated guy and I trust him. That’s the key – the communication and the trust, which Froomey and I had.

“I wouldn’t hand him the yellow jersey, but if I knew he was in a better place and he was going a lot better than me and he could win – we’ll have to see on the road.

“At the end of the day, we’ll know deep down who’s in the better position at the time. As long as we trust each other and nobody does anything out of the blue, we should be fine.”

Thomas added: “Hopefully one of us wins and it’s really uneventful.”