Geraint Thomas says Chris Froome’s Tour de France absence comes as a blow as ‘he’s one of the greatest Grand Tour riders ever’.

Geraint Thomas admits the loss of Chris Froome is a big blow to Team Ineos but says his absence from the Tour de France will not hit his own chances of success (Thomas 13/8 – Tour de France outright).

Froome was gunning for his fifth Tour de France title until a horror smash at the Giro d’Italia last week put paid to that after ruling him out for the next six months.

It means Thomas, who pipped Froome to the yellow jersey last year, will now lead the team, and will be the man to beat when the Tour gets underway next month.

Despite feeling sorry for his friend and team-mate, Thomas says his focus remains on his own condition and making sure he is ready to fire when the race rolls out of Belgium capital Brussels on July 6.

Ineos will also rely more on Colombian rider Egan Bernal, who himself will have high hopes in the general classification, and Thomas says they are still a very strong unit, even without Froome (Egan Bernal 7/2 – Tour de France outright).

“None at all,” he said when asked what impact Froome’s crash has had on him. “I stay in my own little world and just worry about myself and getting to that start line as fit as I can.

“But when it comes to the actual race, he’s one of the greatest Grand Tour riders ever so not having him in the team is a big blow for the team.

“It gives us one less option when it comes to the last few kilometres of the big mountain stages, but that’s sport and you’ve got to deal with it.

“We’ve got a strong squad anyway and whoever comes in, OK they’re not Chris Froome, but they’ll still add to the team.”

Odds subject to change.