Tour de France: Chris Froome offers Geraint Thomas yellow jersey nod

Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are part of a nine-strong Team Sky squad at the 2018 Tour de France
Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are part of a nine-strong Team Sky squad at the 2018 Tour de France

Geraint Thomas says defending champion Chris Froome is "keen" for the Welshman to try for the yellow jersey when the Tour de France enters the mountains.

Former team-mate and 2012 winner Sir Bradley Wiggins says Team Sky would have a problem to deal with if second-placed Thomas continued to be ahead of four-time champion Froome.

But Thomas, 32, said: "I think it's a bit early to be talking about that.

"If I'm still there after Alpe d'Huez (Thursday), maybe it's different then."

He added: "We haven't done a proper climb yet. I'm certainly not getting carried away."

Asked if he had spoken to Froome about it, Thomas replied: "We've kind of spoken in general about things.

"And he's keen for me to try. If I do have the chance to stay up there, to let me have that, you know? But we're honest with each other."

Thomas sits second to Greg Van Avermaet in the general classification after nine stages, 43 seconds off yellow and 59 seconds ahead of Froome as the race heads towards the Alps.

Though Sky have insisted Froome remains the team leader, Thomas has been given licence to race for himself through the first part of the Tour.

Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins
Froome finished second behind Sir Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 Tour de France

Wiggins believes the joint leadership in the race is dangerous.

"This is where it gets difficult, as we hit the first mountain stage," Wiggins said on Eurosport.

"If Geraint stays where he is and takes the yellow jersey, they've got a real problem on their hands."

Wiggins believes Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford would be telling Thomas and Froome they can win the Tour in order to keep them motivated.

Wiggins stated he can be "divisive" and "self-serving" at such times.

"Dave will be in both of their ears and be telling them they can both win it, as a way of motivating them, as a way of playing these cards deep into the race, and let the natural selections come in to play," said Wiggins.

"He's quite self-serving. For him, it's about the team winning, it's not about individuals or characters.

"Both riders have got this joint leadership role, but that's dangerous. But the quality they have in that team, they could end up first or second."

Team Sky rider Chris Froome
Team Sky leader Chris Froome is targeting a fifth Tour de France title in six years

Riding as his domestique, Froome finished second to Wiggins six years ago, and appeared to attack his team leader during stage 11 before sitting up and waiting for him.

It was a moment interpreted as Froome showing he was strong enough to win on his own.

Froome is attempting to become the first man to do the Giro-Tour double since 1998 and win a fourth consecutive Grand Tour.

He insists the Team Sky 2018 tactics are right.

"I think the race, as always, will decide (leadership)," said Froome. "For us, it's fantastic to have different cards to play.

"Movistar have come here with three leading riders (Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde), and with only one GC contender it becomes difficult to cover all three.

"If you look at all the GC riders, 'G' (Thomas) is right up there. It's for other teams to attack us now.

"He's riding extremely well and it just puts us in an even better place."

The Tour will head straight into the Alps after Monday's rest day, with Tuesday's stage 10 taking the peloton over four categorised climbs in 158.5km of racing between Annecy and Le Grand-Bornand.