Chris Froome can be a multiple Tour champion - Brailsford

 

Sir Dave Brailsford believes 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome can be a "multiple champion".

Froome, who won his first yellow jersey on Sunday, told BBC Sport he would like to "contend for the next five years".

Froome's Tour in numbers

Chris Froome

Kilometres covered: 3,404

Time in the saddle: 83hrs 56min 20sec

Winning margin: 4mins 20secs

Stages won: 3 (8, 15 and 17)

Days in the race leader's yellow jersey: 13/21

Crashes: 1 (before the start of stage 1)

Spectators punched: 1 (stage 20)

Doping tests taken: 19

Fines: £140 & 20 seconds for taking food illegally (stage 18)

Prize money: £380,000 (traditionally it is largely split between team-mates)

Team Sky boss Brailsford said: "He has the physical and mental attributes to be competitive in this race, if nothing drastic changes, for quite some time.

"He is not at his best yet. He can still reach a better physical condition than he is in now."

Brailsford has delivered back-to-back Tour de France champions after Sir Bradley Wiggins became Britain's first winner of the event last year.

When Team Sky launched in 2010, Brailsford said it was his aim to win the race within five years.

Wiggins, 33, could return to the race next year after illness denied him the chance of defending his title, although he hinted in June that his Tour de France days may be over,

Fellow Brit Froome, who helped Wiggins win the 2012 Tour, feels the pair could ride in the same team if Brailsford thinks it can work.

"It depends on the course, the conditions, what plays to our strengths, what plays to our weaknesses, but if Dave says it's possible then I'm sure it's possible," said the 28-year-old Froome.

Like Wiggins, Froome faced constant questioning about doping en route to his victory, especially in the wake of seven-time winner Lance Armstrong's admission in January that he used performance-enhancing substances throughout his career.

International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid said he had some sympathy for Froome.

Team Sky pay tribute to Chris Froome

"It probably is the worst Tour to win because it comes after the whole Armstrong affair, but I think for Chris Froome it is going to be the best one as it is the 100th edition of the race," McQuaid told BBC Sport.

Asked if cycling was now free from doping, McQuaid responded: "You can never be 100% confident. I don't see the biological passports or profiles, but I would be confident that Chris Froome is clean."

Froome said he understood why some people still distrusted cycling, but insisted the scepticism had not marred his victory.

"I wouldn't say the cheats spoilt the moment," he said. "I've still absolutely enjoyed it and every second has been worth it even though we've come under the microscope."

He added: "I think some people will never believe. We just have to accept that because they've been betrayed in the past. But I believe. I know what I'm doing and I know what my team-mates are doing."

Froome's next target is September's World Championships in Florence,  which will be broadcast across the BBC,

Listen to Froome's Tour de France win

He believes the road race's unusually hilly course may suit him.

"It's an event that doesn't often favour climbers the way it does this year," the Kenya-born rider said. "It's a great opportunity to go for it.

"My focus has just been on the Tour up until now but being world champion, that's probably the second biggest thing after wearing the yellow jersey."

Only five men have won the Tour de France and World Championship road race in the same year - American Greg LeMond was the last to do it in 1989 - and only two Britons - Tom Simpson in 1965 and Mark Cavendish in 2011 - have ever become world road race champion.