Tour de France: Chris Froome relationship 'good as ever' - Sir Dave Brailsford

Sir Dave Brailsford and Chris Froome
Egan Bernal (left) will defend his Tour de France title for Sir Dave Brailsford's (centre) Team Ineos, while Chris Froome (right) misses out

Sir Dave Brailsford says his relationship with Chris Froome is "as good as ever" despite leaving him out of Team Ineos' Tour de France squad.

Froome, 35, suffered a fracture to his neck in a major crash last year and Brailsford says the Tour had come "a bit early" for the four-time winner.

The rescheduled Tour begins on Saturday in Nice and runs until 20 September.

"We have given Chris a bit longer to continue his recovery," team principal Brailsford told BBC Breakfast.

Froome, who is leaving Ineos at the end of the current season, will instead lead the team at the Vuelta a Espana in October.

"We looked at everything we can do to support his training programme and our relationship is as good as ever," added Brailsford.

"We have a professional relationship and a personal relationship, and on both fronts, we are absolutely fine.

"Chris had a horrific accident last year and he has done amazingly well to come back and be able to compete at the highest end of professional cycling."

Alongside Froome, Welshman and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas also misses out, with the team, which will be known as Ineos Grenadiers for the race.

Brailsford said: "Geraint has already won the Tour de France but we want to get the Tour of Italy under his belt to join up with his yellow jersey, so we have reallocated our resources and we feel like we have all of the big races covered this year."

He added the team was "all in" for last year's winner Egan Bernal, while they also have 2019 Giro d'Italia victor Richard Carapaz in their eight-strong squad of riders.

He also reiterated his stance on wanting to develop British riders as Froome and 34-year-old Thomas near the "twilight" of their careers.

Britain's Adam Yates, 28, will join Ineos from Mitchelton-Scott on a two year deal next season, and Brailsford says his team are "really going to invest in the next generation".

"We have had a cohort of British riders that we have worked with for 10 years and they have developed at the highest level and given us great success," said Brailsford.

"It is time to turn back into British cycling and to identify some of the great young talent dotted around in various teams and academy programmes.

"We have signed Adam Yates from another team, who has been fourth in the Tour de France already."

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates, who will target stage wins instead of the general classification at this year's Tour, said the transfer would not affect him for the rest of the season.

"It wasn't an easy decision but I'm happy with what I chose," he added.

"I made my mind up a couple of weeks ago and it moved pretty quickly from there."

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